Notts. County 2 Scunthorpe United 0

Last updated : 22 January 2005 By Footymad Previewer

Notts County proved as water-tight as ever at the back - this was their fifth league game running without conceding a goal - and, for once, they were sharper up front.

The result was that Scunthorpe United suffered only their fourth league away defeat of the season, and they were so outplayed for long spells that it could have been by a heavier margin.

Notts took the initiative in a high tempo start that was then interrupted for five minutes while Scunthorpe midfielder Richard Kell received treatment and was then carried off on a stretcher suffering from serious concussion.

But Notts soon picked up the pace they had set earlier, and after thrilling work down the left flank David Pipe was only just short of putting them in front with a flying header that cleared the bar at short range.

When the Notts goal arrived, on the half hour mark, it was a beauty.

Great credit goes to central defender Julien Baudet - captaining Notts for the first time - for delivering an exquisite through ball into the path of leading scorer Glenn Hurst. Hurst timed his run to perfection to beat Scunthorpe's attempted offside trap, and after waltzing round goalkeeper Paul Musselwhite, slid the ball into the empty net.

Hurst's strike partner Gavin Gordon was then presented with a glorious chance of doubling the advantage, but he snatched wildly and the ball went wide.

Scunthorpe were being restricted to long distance efforts with nobody more incisive than midfielder Matthew Sparrow, who caused Saul Deeney to save at the foot of his right-hand post.

Scunthorpe looked for an equaliser at the start of the second half, but it was Notts who had the best chance. Hurst was again released through the middle in a one-on-one situation with Musselwhite only to delay too long and allow Andrew Crosby to drop back and dispossess him.

Notts' second goal arrived after 57 minutes and it was another gem. After delightful build-up play, Gordon displayed lovely close control as he drew out Musselwhite and scored at a slight angle.

Although Scunthorpe continued to battle, they seldom looked like breaking down the Notts back four behind which Deeney again looked unbeatable.