Kevin Nolan named an unchanged team following his side’s 0-0 draw with Luton Town last weekend.
That meant Shola Ameobi partnered Jon Stead up front, while Elliott Hewitt continued alongside Ryan Yates in central midfield. Ameobi claimed the game’s first shot, his long-range effort being deflected behind, before Jamille Matt’s strike flicked up into the grasp of Ross Fitzsimons. The Notts stopper was called into unorthadox action four minutes later, backpedalling to tip the ball over the bar after Jorge Grant’s attempted clearance had cannoned off Luke Summerfield. Fitzsimons then made a strong save with his legs to deny Matt, before the keeper gratefully pounced on the ball following a spot of pinball in the area moments later. That was to be the final action of note in a frustrating first half for the Magpies, who emerged for the second period unchanged.
The dangerous Sikiri Dembele bent a shot high and wide and Yates nodded Jorge Grant’s free-kick wide at the near post as the sides exchanged blows in their pursuit of the crucial first goal. Yates required lengthy treatment having taken a hefty blow from visiting keeper James McKeown but was fit to continue. The Mariners stopper then had his heart in his mouth when Stead beat him to a bouncing ball near the left corner flag and went down under his challenge. With no clear goalscoring opportunity apparent, the referee deemed a yellow card sufficient punishment. Grant saw a low effort deflect across goal and just wide of the post shortly before Nolan made a double substitution, Stead and Terry Hawkridge making way for Lewis Alessandra and Jonathan Forte with 10 minutes to play. With injury time looming, the ball bounced up for Grant near the penalty spot but, with his back to goal, he could only send it straight at McKeown with a tentative overhead kick. Four minutes of added time were indicated, the first of which saw Ameobi nod the ball wide from Alessandra’s cross. There was still time for Yates to go into the book for cynically pulling back Scott Vernon on halfway. But, despite Notts’ second-half dominance, there was to be no breakthrough as the game ended goalless.
Notts County: Fitzsimons: Tootle, Duffy, Brisley, Dickinson, Hawkridge (Alessandra 80), Yates, Hewitt, Grant, Stead (Forte 80), Ameobi.
Grimsby: McKeown, Davies, Collins, Clarke, Mills, Dembele (Hooper 90), Rose, Summerfield, Jaiyesimi(Woolford 79), Matt (Vernon 72), Jones.
Booked: McKeown, Jones.