Mayo off as Notts lose again

Mayo was rightly given his marching orders just two minutes after the break when he hauled down Martin Bullock when the Wycombe man was clean on goal, and John Sutton netted the resulting penalty kick.

Notts managed to gte themselves back into the game against the odds showing good fight with Richard Butcher getting his fifth of the campaign but just three minutes later Scott McGleish restored the hosts advantage before Matt Bloomfield made sure with eight minutes left, rounding Pilkington to send Notts home pointless.
Mayo... Off after poor foul on Bullock

Notts boss Steve Thompson made one change from the side that lost 3-2 to Hereford United in midweek bringing back Hector Sam who bagged from the bench in the game, in place of the out of sorts Andy Parkinson.

More changes were anticipated given the below standard performances of some of the established stars against the Bulls but Thompson was clearly giving a show of faith to some of those experienced campaigners.

Gary Silk also came off then bench to score on Tuesday but couldn't claim a place at right-back after picking up a knock in training, allowing Rob Austin to take his place on the bench.

Wearing the new, all white third strip for the first time, Notts were again employing the 4-3-3 formation against a Wycombe side just three points better off than them, despite being six places below.

Wycombe lined up with former Magpies favourite Stefan Oakes in their midfield where he was partnered by ex-Nottingham Forest man Gary Holt.

The Chairboys were first to threaten stepping up the pace through Sergio Torres but his weak header was comfortable for Kevin Pilkington in the Notts goal.

Notts' first charge on Wycombe's goal came from a Paul Mayo free-kick after Sam Stockley brought down Sam who was being given some heavy treatment early doors but it was completely wasted that avoided everyone and crept out for a goal kick.

On twelve minutes Wanderers winger Martin Bullock was causing several problems for Notts early doors and after twelve minutes a good run saw him release McGleish who turned onto his right and curled a good shot home that hit the crossbar and fell to Sutton who put it into the empty net but was clearly offside and so It was rightly disallowed.

However it was a clear sign of the hosts' increasing pressure as they dominated the opening exchanges with Oakes predictably pulling a lot of the early strings.

Neil MacKenzie, Notts' midfield creative force, was the first to bring a save from home goalkeeper Frank Fielding with a powerful volley that despite being a good attempt was unlikely to find the back of the net and was claimed by Fielding.

Sutton... Offside when he netted
On nineteen minutes Lawrie Dudfield was brought down near the corner and Notts were given a free-kick on the right hand side which Mayo curled in and Fielding easily gathered.

With both sides finding goals hard to come by overall this season, both having scored on average just one a game, it is clear that set-pieces could be crucial and Mayo's delivery up to this point had been badly lacking.

Another chance was given through the first corner of the game after some neat inter-play between Dudfield and Butcher. This time MacKenzie whipped it in and it caused momentary confusion for the Wycombe defence but was eventually awkwardly cleared by David McCracken.

Home full-back Stockley found himself in the Notts box and hit an effort in space that was wide of Pilkington's goal.

After 28 minutes Thompson was forced into a change when Canoville, arguably lucky to retain his place following Silk's injury picked up a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Austin McCann, a left footer by trade even though right-back Rob Austin was on the bench, Thompson clearly going for experience over youth with Austin yet to make a first team appearance.

The hosts were clearly the better side and looked more threatening in the final third but up to now Adam Tann and Stephen Hunt were in particularly strong form holding off the potent McGleish and Sutton.

The game began to slow down becoming more of a midfield battle for a while until the lively Torres dipped past Butcher and then Matt Somner who hauled him down outside the area and was rightly booked.

Torres... Man of the Match

Oakes, who netted some thrilling goals when at Notts, many from free-kicks, surprisingly left it for Russell Martin to strike and he could only drive it wide.

Despite the half having few clear cut chances the added quality from Wanderers was telling and they were the better side but Notts did threaten when Butcher first hit wide from just outside the area and then the woodwork was hit by a Sam header after a flick on by Tann from a good MacKenzie delivery.

Just before the break Mayo worked hard to force a corner and MacKenzie, whose delivery had so far been threatening, dipped one in but Fielding claimed well.

He again dived on to a MacKenzie cross soon after, this time in open play with Dudfield lurking behind dangerously.

Notts were growing as the half neared its close and Butcher won another Notts corner kick which again was taken by MacKenzie and met by Tann but Fielding saved before it fell to MacKenzie whose whipped effort was again claimed by Fielding who looked a strong keeper.

Half-time: 0-0

The half-time summation would be to say that although Wycombe were the better side it was Notts who had had more shots on goal, with both sides having hit the woodwork once.

Notts would have to prevent the lively Torres and Bullock in particular, them two both wingers highlighting Notts' narrow 4-3-3 formation, and getting to grips with them would be key to keeping a clean sheet.

At the other end Dudfield looked the liveliest forward but both Sam and Lee had yet to impact while MacKenzie had started to create openings as the half wore on.

Set-pieces could prove vital.

Second half

Immediately after the break Notts' plans were in crisis as Mayo was given a straight red for hacking down the dangerous Bullock who had glided past the former Lincoln man like he wasn't there. What made it worse was it was inside the penalty box and the referee rightly gave the home side a penalty which Sutton struck hard past Pilkington who dived the wrong way.

The small Notts travelling support must have now feared the worst with one left-back sent off, the starting right-back injured and now a goal down just three minutes into the second half.

McGleish... Potent striker was to net crucial second

Thompson's reorganisation saw Somner switched to right-back with McCann at left-back and Dudfield in midfield.

Paul Lambert's side were now advancing time and again and Torres brought a save from Pilkington to win the Chairboys' first corner of the game which Oakes took short to Torres whose cross was cleared by Hunt.

Notts were going to have to rely on a counter-attack and Dudfield played a neat one-two with MacKenzie before crossing well from the left hand side but once again Fielding rushed out to claim comfortably when danger looked on.

Martin then drove low at goal hitting the post but the rebound fell kindly to Sutton and he somehow missed with the goal vacant.

MacKenzie was desperately trying to bring Notts back into the game and he managed to weave his way into the box and have a go at goal but as it fell to Dudfield Notts were crowded out by the hosts.

With the Magpies having nothing to lose the new midfield three of Butcher, MacKenzie and striker Dudfield were being given a new license to attack with the latter employed in something of a free role which he seemed to be relishing.

Butcher... Hit equaliser
Dudfield's shot was blocked and Lee's follow-up was well saved by Fielding with half hour left to play.

The Wanderers 'keeper was in magnificent form and produced a superb double stop to deny Notts a clear goal on 62 when he first jumped with Lee to block before then dramatically sticking out a hand to deny Butcher's goal bound rebound. Just an inch wider from Butcher and he'd be celebrating his fifth Notts goal and a much needed equaliser here at Adams Park.

Notts fans then had their hearts in their mouth as Oakes surged forward and hit well, but it fizzed wide, Oakes was then booked for unsporting behaviour.

But those fans would soon be celebrating as Butcher got that fifth goal of the season to pull the ten men level after Sam cleverly sprung the offside trap and neatly teed the midfielder up with Butcher's finish sending the Notts fans into raptures - despite Fielding's best efforts as he managed to get a hand to it.

Although it was a deserved leveller at that time Notts were to hold on at 1-1 for just three minutes as the hosts switched to route one with Fielding the supplier in to McGleish who powerfully struck home giving Pilkington no chance.

Spencer Weir-Daley was introduced for Notts for Sam just before Wycombe's leveller, while Oakes exited for Wanderers being replaced by Bloomfield.

As the game entered its final ten minutes Lee was replaced by Parkinson with Dudfield moving back up front alongside Weir-Daley, a grandstand finish was needed for Notts who after going back behind seemed to have lost a little heart.

Bloomfield... Rounded things off after rounding Pilkington

With substitutions aplenty Sutton was withdrawn for Wanderers with Reuben Reid entering the fray.

And soon after the game was beyond doubt as Bloomfield got in on the scoring, rounding Pilkington to finish after great footwork by Torres to set him up on 82 minutes and it was game over for the Magpies with the defence looking particularly shaky since the break.

Man of the match Torres was allowed a standing ovation when he was replaced by Andre Boucaud.

Pilkington then carelessly mis-kicked into the path of Bullock but when it seemed a goal was on the flag went up to the 230 odd Notts fans' relief.

However, those fans were to go home completely despondent at a second successive defeat, leaving the Magpies languishing dangerously close to the drop zone, a million miles away from the promotion places they expected to be in.