10 Men Notts go down 2-1 to Yeovil.
Notts County 1 Yeovil 2
Five changes were made to the starting line-up by Magpies manager Shaun Derry from the team that suffered the 2-1 defeat to Accrington Stanley in midweek.
Coming in to the starting eleven were; Jake Cassidy, Gary Jones, Liam Noble, Mike Edwards and Stephen McLaughlin to replace Nicky Wroe, Taylor McKenzie,
Drissa Traore, Ronan Murray and Jordan Cranston. The first four took their place on the bench for the fixture. Jake Cassidy came back into the side for his first start since October following an injury that kept him out since the 1-0 victory over Gillingham. The striker did make a substitute appearance against Accrington Stanley and nearly made an immediate impact, hitting the crossbar with his first touch during the second half. Also in the side was Stephen McLaughlin, who was ineligible for the game in the FA Cup. Meanwhile, Gary Jones, Mike Edwards and Liam Noble all returned for the league fixture, the latter coming off the bench midweek against Accrington.
A good performance in midweek from Michael Petrasso was continued on early in the game. Twice in the opening minutes he picked up the ball out on the right wing and immediately looked to take on Nathan Smith in the visitors’ left-back position. On both occasions he got the better of Smith, but good covering from the Yeovil defence stopped him in his tracks, despite early skill from the QPR loanee. In what was a slow start the game, there was very little early on in the way of chances. Yeovil were the first carve out a half opportunity of the game. Good intentions from Samuel Foley created himself some space within the Notts half, he then dinked the ball towards the back post where Jordy Hiwula was waiting. Hiwula got to the ball first, but headed wide, with Carroll having the near post covered anyway.
Three minutes later and Notts County had their first chance of the afternoon. Stephen McLaughlin picked up the ball on the edge of the area, after a poor clearance from Yeovil’s defence. His shot was blocked and ricocheted into the path of Michael Petrasso on the right wing. He had time and space to pick out a man in the box, but his cross was easily claimed by Jed Steer. Notts were starting to control the game at this point, and a good counter attack nearly rewarded them for their early pressure. Liam Noble picked out a fantastic cross-field pass for Jake Cassidy. Cassidy continued his run along the by-line before pulling an incredibly teasing ball back for a Notts player, but it was just behind Garry Thompson and slightly ahead of Michael Petrasso for the home side to capitalise on a great piece of play from the Wolves loanee. With Yeovil on the back-foot, a good piece of play from them carved out the first serious opportunity of the game, and the first test for Roy Carroll. A delicate flick from Hiwula sent James Berrett away. Berrett played in Ajay Leitch-Smith on the left. He continued on into the box but his shot was saved well by Carroll and Haydn Hollis was there to tidy up the remains. With 30 minutes gone, on the pitch, the game changed. A tackle from Gary Jones looked to have got the ball completely, but referee Stuart Atwell showed the midfielder a straight red card, much to the displeasure of the players, coaching staff and the fans. Following a lot of deliberation between the players and officials, Jones eventually left the pitch to a round of applause from the Notts support, leaving the home side with ten men, two thirds of the game remaining. Despite that, Notts continued to look to get in behind Yeovil and continued to hold most of the possession, but Yeovil again came close to taking the lead. Stephen Arthurworrey picked up the ball midway through the Notts half and continued to run at the Magpies, weaving his way through two players before forcing Carroll into an important save to keep the score at 0-0. The effort that every single Notts player put on the pitch during the remaining minutes of the first half was fantastic. They stayed organised and strong at the back, limiting the space and opportunities the away side had going into the break, keeping the score level at 0-0.
Notts came out for the second half with an eye for goal. Michael Petrasso starting and finishing the move created in the first two minutes of the second half. Great pace from the winger got him in behind Arthurworrey and Ben Nugent. He tried to pull the ball back, but following a series of deflections, Liam Noble played it back to him on the right. He then cut inside and unleashed a strike that forced Steer into an important save to keep the scores level. From that, Notts continued the pressure with both Stephen McLaughlin and Michael Petrasso having to do a lot of running up and down the wings. Michael Petrasso showed good pace again down that right wing to get behind Nathan Smith and earn his side a corner, after his pullback was blocked. The set-piece was whipped in and both Haydn Hollis and Taylor McKenzie looked to get a head on it, but Yeovil cleared. The pressure that the Magpies were putting on Yeovil was nothing short of remarkable. That 100 per cent effort that every player put into the game resulted in Notts taking the lead midway through the second half. Yeovil defender Stephen Arthurworrey had plenty of time on the ball deep into the Yeovil half, but fantastic pressure from both Jake Cassidy and Michael Petrasso forced Arthurworrey to play back to his goalkeeper, however his back pass was weak and Petrasso managed to nip onto the ball, take it around Steer and put it into an empty net to give Notts lead. Since the goal, Yeovil really turned on the pressure and gave the Notts defence plenty to think about as they looked to retain a well-deserved lead. Balls were being pumped into the box, but the centre-backs in the black and white stripes dealt with all that was being thrown at them. Roy Carroll was doing his fair share to keep them ahead as well, punching a corner clear when it looked to be falling for a Yeovil Town head. With 20 minutes remaining, he tipped wide another Arthurworrey effort to deny the defender for a second time. Yeovil continued to threaten the Notts net, with every home player throwing their bodies in the way to ensure they didn’t concede. Former Forest midfielder Simon Gillett didn’t come far away from getting an equaliser. He found himself with space on the left of the area and tried his luck, aiming for the far corner, but his shot went wide of Carroll’s goal. Kevin Dawson then tried to beat the Notts number one at the near post, but he got across well and tipped it behind for a corner. The pressure put on from Yeovil earned them an equaliser. From the resulting corner, the ball was placed well for Jordan Clarke to touch the ball in, despite the man on the post and Carroll doing their best to keep the ball out. Minutes later and the away side had taken the lead through the same man gain. A ball over towards the back post from the left and Jordan Clarke got to the ball first and headed in for his second, after his effort deflected in off the post. Haydn Hollis had a slight chance going into injury time, good pace down the right from Garry Thompson created the space for him to get a cross into the box, the ball was cleared only as far as Haydn Hollis, who took a touch and then sliced the ball wide of Steer’s goal. This was the last opportunity of the game as Notts County continued to put pressure on the Yeovil defence, but couldn’t find that equaliser. It was a performance Shaun Derry will be proud of, each and every one of his players put 100 per cent effort throughout the game.
Notts County: Carroll, C Thompson, Hollis, Edwards (Murray 90), Adams (McKenzie 35), McLaughlin, Noble, Jones (s/o 29), Petrasso, G Thompson, Cassidy (Harrad 75).
Sent Off: Jones.
Yeovil: Steer, Smith, Edwards, Dawson, Berrett (Gillett 72), Leitch-Smith (Hayter 54), Foley, Clarke, Nugent, Hiwula (Grant 54), Arthurworrey.
Booked: Arthurworrey, Nugent, Smith, Edwards.
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