Notts. County 0 Carlisle United 0

Notts County's winless run has stretched to 10 League and Cup games after a goalless draw with Carlisle United at Meadow Lane, but this was a much more satisfying performance.

Notts knocked the ball around impressively and played at a good tempo to put the visitors' defence under constant pressure, particularly in the first half.

But the Notts problem of missing clear scoring opportunities persists and the chief culprit on this occasion was midfielder Lewis McMahon notwithstanding that he contributed a fine individual performance as the midfield playmaker.

McMahon had two great chances to win it for Notts. In the first half, from the edge of the area, he shot straight at Carlisle goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who held on when he would surely have been beaten had the drive been to either side of him.

The most crucial miss came in the last moment of the 90th minute when McMahon was superbly put through with the deftest of touches by David McGoldrick, but he shot too hurriedly with an effort that finished wide of Westwood's right-hand post.

Despite a grandstand finish, in which they forced a succession of corners and free kicks, Notts never again had such a clear-cut chance to win for the first time since August.

Indeed, with the game in added time, the visitors nearly won it - which would have been unjust. Karl Hawley fastened on to a superb through ball and beat Kevin Pilkington with his shot only to see it fly across the face of the goal and outside the goalkeeper's left-hand post.

The biggest moment of controversy had come towards the end of the first half when, outside his area and the last line of defence, Westwood upended Notts striker Steve Scoffham.

The crowd bayed for a Notts free-kick and for Westwood to be dismissed but the referee - in his first ever League match - said afterwards to Notts manager Gudjon Thordarson he thought Westwood had pulled out at the last moment.

But Mr Dean Whitestone then learned that Scoffham had been hurt in the collision and did not continue to feel that justice was served.