Notts leave it late again

By Jacob Daniel
Last updated : 14 December 2010

Notts County recorded successive wins and clean sheets for the first time this season on Saturday as they defeated manager Paul Ince's former side Milton Keynes Dons at Meadow Lane although they once again left it late to secure the three points. Having beaten the weather to get the game on Notts started with the same eleven that beat Swindon Town last time out, meaning no place for Lee Hughes as Lee Miller and Craig Westcarr continued upfront. Chelsea loanee Michael Woods had to settle for a place on the bench, whilst Stephen Darby kept his place at right back. Visiting manager Karl Robinson opted for a 4-5-1 formation, with Aaron Wilbraham as a lone striker with support coming from wingers Michael McIndoe and Lewis Guy.

Notts started brightly and carved out some early openings, with Ben Davies' deep cross just evading Westcarr and Alan Judge's pull back also just evading Notts' leading scorer. Westcarr was soon to turn provider, turning Danny Woodards inside out and pulling back for Judge, who's powerful shot from ten yards was bravely charged down by Matthias Doumbe. The visitors seemed to have set up to hit Notts on the break and this danger was apparent when a long ball forward set Lewis Guy racing away, but he delayed his shot and could eventually only square the ball and allow Darby to hack it clear. Notts continued to dominate and should've taken the lead soon after as Neal Bishop wasted a golden opportunity, firing Westcarr's cross horribly wide from ten yards.

Wilbraham was cutting an increasingly frustrated figure upfront for the Dons and he was lucky not to be sent off after a flailing arm caught Mike Edwards, with the referee choosing only to brandish a yellow card. Edwards recovered though and was able to play in Ben Davies soon after, thanks in part to a clever Westcarr dummy, but the sought after winger was denied by David Martin when clean through on goal. Lee Miller was the next to have a sight of goal, racing onto a Ricky Ravenhill pass but again Notts found the Dons 'keeper in inspired form. As Alan Judge had the final effort of the first half, a teasing, dipping effort that Martin brilliantly repelled, Notts found themselves going in level at the break despite dominating, a story that is becoming far too familiar for the Magpies.

They nearly paid immediately after the break as Stephen Darby left a back header to Rob Burch short, allowing Guy to race in on goal, but Burch was alert to smother the danger at Guy's feet. Notts' main threats seemed to be coming from distance at this point as Westcarr sent a swerving, unstoppable shot inches wide of the far post with Martin rooted to the spot and Ravenhill saw his powerful effort deflected away by Mark Carrington. The Dons seemed more of a threat having introduced Jabo Ibehre to partner Wilbraham and he could've put them ahead but was unable to convert Guy's clever knock down.

The game seemed to be petering out and Paul Ince finally decided to shuffle his pack, sending on Hughes for Miller and his son Thomas for Judge. The game turned on these moments and one soon after, when Wilbraham again caught Edwards with a stray arm and received a second yellow card. This gave Notts the momentum and with four minutes left they struck, a long ball forward was only cleared as far as Ince and he drove an unstoppable left footed shot into the bottom corner from twenty five yards to notch his first senior goal. This sparked wild celebrations at Meadow Lane, which continued until deep into stoppage time when Westcarr's hopeful ball forward found Hughes, who calmly rounded a defender and curled a brilliant finish into the far corner of the net to seal a second successive league win for the Magpies.

Notts County 2 (Ince '86, Hughes'90+2)

Milton Keynes Dons 0

Attendance - 5,172 (322 Dons)

Notts Co - Burch, Darby, Chilvers (Pearce), Edwards, Harley, Judge (Ince), Ravenhill, Bishop, Davies, Miller (Hughes), Westcarr


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