Notts. County 3 Queens Park Rangers 3

Last updated : 26 December 2003 By Footymad Previewer

A dramatic injury time equaliser from Kevin Gallen denied Notts County a victory over QPR for the second successive December in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Meadow Lane.

Last season's 3-0 success kick-started the County season and they eventually battled clear of the relegation zone.

When this latest encounter drifted into stoppage time, with Notts leading 3-2, it looked like a repeat performance - but it was not to be.

What Notts boss Bill Dearden described as schoolboy defending allowed Gallen to convert a long throw with a short range header.

Dearden watched a video replay before expressing his disgust and his sorrow with Notts hat-trick hero Paul Heffernan.

Watched by his mother, father and brother on a Christmas holiday from Ireland, Heffernan bagged all three Notts goals. And it was the first time that his family had ever seen him score! An absorbing game was played at a cracking pace with Rangers going ahead after only three minutes when Steve Palmer shot through a crowd of players from the edge of the box.

The lead was short lived, Heffernan equalising three minutes later then, with ten minutes gone, Notts central defender Ian Richardson sliced the ball past his own keeper to put Rangers back in front.

Paul Heffernan again came to the rescue with a well taken equaliser on 28 minutes and completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot on 72 minutes.

Heffernan himself was tripped by centre half Clarke Carlisle a yard inside the area and sent Rangers keeper Chris Day the wrong way from the spot.

Terrell Forbes rescued Rangers by heading in off the goalline from the lively Clive Platt and Notts seemed to be in control against the high flying Londoners.

Then came Gallen's late leveller to leave Notts with only one win in six league matches and relegation still very much a stark possibility.