The great escape is finally complete

By Notts County Mad
Last updated : 20 April 2002
The impossible has been achieved. Seven weeks ago we were all focused about planning watching the lowlifes of the third division but today was like we had won the cup, with Jimmy Sirrell, Don Masson, Jack Wheeler and even Darren Ward spectating the whole atmosphere was Black and White and it was brilliant.

This was the climax of an astonishing 11-game revival which against all the odds has carried Notts County to Second Division safety.

Notts have taken 23 of the last 33 points at stake and no player has played a more influential role than the former Manchester City striker Danny Allsopp.

The big Australian has scored 11 times in 11 matches and was at it again with the first vital goal against below-strength Huddersfield Town.

Allsopp's flying header gave Town goalkeeper Martyn Margetson no chance but much of the credit belonged to the skillful build-up of midfielders Darren Caskey and Richard Liburd.

Caskey, back after a two match suspension, was quite outstanding and contributed his best performance for Notts since his transfer from Reading last summer.

Town's best chance of an equaliser fell just before half-time when Delroy Facey should have done better than to blaze wide from an angle.

Town's probings meant that Notts could not sit back on a one goal lead and they nearly snatched a second in the early moments of the second half. Defender Nick Fenton's header from a corner was scrambled on to the post and then for a corner.

However, a second Notts goal duly arrived with just over an hour played. There was no apparent danger to Huddersfield when left back Kevin Nicholson collected a pass just inside the visitors' half. But he drove forward, spotted his chance as defenders failed to close him down and flashed a low drive inside Margetson's left-hand post.

It was at this stage of the match when the Jimmy Sirrell stand did a mexican wave of "Stand up if you're staying up" and it looked pure quality from the view of the Derek Pavis Stand.

Notts went searching for a third goal and replaced Irish under-21 striker Paul Heffernan with Mark Stallard who has been missing with injury for four months.

Stallard was never really presented with a chance and indeed it was Town's turn to find the back of the net.

Notts substitute Paul Bolland needlessly pushed Facey over in the box and from the penalty spot Kenny Irons easily beat Stuart Garden for the first visiting goal at Meadow Lane in five successive wins.

With news filtering through that Bournemouth were losing at Wrexham Notts supporters knew they were safe and what the club had billed as "The Great Escape" had been completed.

When the whistle blew, thousands of black and white fans flooded the pitch of Meadow Lane, picking up their heroes like Danny Allsopp and clutching at the likes of Fan favourite Stuart Garden. It was a marvellous sight and they stayed their for many minutes applauding the team when they came out onto the balcony to give their thanks.

The attendance was the highest at Meadow Lane since a visit by Wolves exactly eight years ago, and funnily enough that was my first ever match that I had been to. (I am only 14!)

Notts manager Bill Dearden afterwards congratulated his backroom staff and players and said the credit belonged to them. Dearden also congratulated his former club Mansfield Town on achieving promotion.

So onto another season then, and remember: The future's bright, the futures Black and White!
Courtesy of Up the Maggies website

Notts. County Match Reports

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