Kevin Nolan made four changes to the team that faced Newport County on Tuesday night. In came fit-again Matt Tootle, Andy Kellett, Tom Crawford and Kristian Dennis as Dan Jones, Nathan Thomas, Jon Stead and David Vaughan made way. Vaughan took his place on the bench but Jones, Thomas and Stead were all unavailable.
Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain was also handed his first place in a Notts matchday squad after recovering sufficiently from a broken leg sustained at previous club Portsmouth.
The hosts claimed the first shot of the game when Anderson struck the ball into the side-netting with three minutes on the clock. But, four minutes later, City fired the ball the right side of the woodwork when Frecklington’s side-footed volley from 20 yards found Ross Fitzsimons’ top corner. Eleven minutes later, the Magpies responded by winning a free-kick on the right-hand edge of Lincoln’s penalty area. Kellett fired the ball low into the danger area from the subsequent set piece, missing everyone with his cross-cum-shot and finding the far corner to level things up. Moments later, Notts nearly turned the game on its head when Kane Hemmings capitalised on a poor back pass, composing himself on the edge of the area before hitting the base of the post with a shot. Notts kept the ball alive off the rebound, working it to Kellett who drifted an effort a yard wide of the post. The Magpies’ tails were up but their efforts were dealt a blow on 27 minutes when skipper Richard Duffy was forced off with an injury after shepherding the ball to safety under pressure from John Akinde. He handed the armband to Elliott Hewitt and was replaced by Terry Hawkridge. That move saw Matt Tootle move into central defence alongside Shaun Brisley and Hewitt, with Hawkridge playing right wing back. With Notts unsettled, the hosts capitalised by regaining the lead on 34 minutes. Fitzsimons collided with Tootle as he attempted to punch clear a cross from the left, presenting the ball to Andrade who fired it into the roof of the net from inside the area. Tootle, who appeared to injure his shoulder in the clash with his keeper, went into the book for a foul on Andrade minutes later and signalled to the bench that he was unable to continue. Pierce Bird replaced him, slotting in alongside Hewitt and Brisley in the back three.
There were no further Notts changes at half-time and Fitzsimons was called into early second-half action, pushing Andrade’s shot away. But there was nothing the keeper could do in the 55th minute when Andrade’s cross to the near post was turned home sharply by Anderson. Notts now had it all to do and Nolan’s final throw of the dice saw Vaughan replace Crawford in a move which saw the Magpies switch to a 4-4-2 formation. But chances were proving hard to come by for the Magpies, who saw Kristian Dennis flash a snapshot a yard or so wide of the post on 76 minutes. It could have been 4-1 shortly afterwards, Kellett bravely denying Andrade a certain goal six yards out. There was a mad scramble in the Lincoln area in the dying moments of normal time as Kellett’s free-kick caused chaos but the ball wouldn’t fall for the Magpies. Three minutes were added on at the end of the match but the visitors were unable to threaten a comeback.
Lincoln City: Smith, Eardley, Bostwick, Shackell, Toffolo, Frecklington, O’Connor (Chapman 69), Pett, Anderson, Akinde (Green 76), Andrade (Luque 90).
Notts County: Fitzsimons, Tootle (Bird 40), Brisley, Duffy (Hawkridge 28), Boldewijn, Husin, Crawford (Vaughan 61), Hewitt, Kellett, Hemmings, Dennis.