Another year, another FA Cup run that could be on the cards for Notts County as they breezed through the first round against a limited Accrington side at Meadow Lane. Karl Hawley continued his (relative) goalscoring run of form with a brace, with Alan Sheehan bagging his first for the club and Alan Judge also notching his first goal at Meadow Lane.
The signs were good from the start, with the return of Neal Bishop and Gavin Mahon to midfield giving the Magpies a much, much brighter outlook than in last week's draw with Wycombe, although Lee Hughes missed out upfront with a hamstring strain. After an impeccably observed minute's silence, Notts were straight on to the front foot with Judge volleying an effort wide after Ben Burgess' clever knock down.
Charlie Barnett forced a smart save out of Stuart Nelson, but it was the hosts monopolising the ball and dictating proceedings, albeit against a side looking difficult to break down and well organised by John Coleman. Neal Bishop couldn't force the ball over the line from close range, before Burgess twice missed good opportunities to break the deadlock. Notts didn't have to wait too long to get in front though, when Accrington's defence finally parted to allow Hawley to run clear and lift the ball over Murdoch and just over the line, despite the best efforts of a Stanley defender racing back.
Hawley had the ball over the line again soon after, but it was disallowed somewhat harshly for a foul by Krystian Pearce in the build up, meaning the Magpies had to be content with a 1-0 lead at half time. It only took them two minutes to double it after the restart though, when Alan Judge raced clear and drove the ball in at the near post, where Stanley 'keeper Murdoch really should've made a better attempt at keeping it out.
Notts were now well on top, with Murdoch twice having to keep out Jeff Hughes, before the game was all but ended as a contest. Once again Notts broke Stanley's poor defensive line too easily, with Hawley racing clear only to be hauled over by Andrew Proctor. The referee had little choice but to send the Stanley centre half off, all but killing off their hopes of progress in the competition. As it was, on eighty minutes Sheehan was able to sign, seal and deliver Notts' progression when his inswinging free kick evaded everyone and nestled in the far corner. There was still time for two more goals - Luke Joyce volleying home a Stanley consollation and Hawley lifting it over Murdoch for his second, but it was always going to be the hosts who took their place in the second round draw.