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Match Reports

Report: Notts County 0-0 Wycombe

Stalemate at Meadow Lane.

30 March 2018

Fourth-placed Notts County and third-placed Wycombe earned a point apiece from a hard-fought goalless draw at Meadow Lane on Good Friday.

Both sides had chances to win it with Shola Ameobi and Elliott Hewitt striking the post for the hosts, while Sido Jombati did the same for the Wanderers and Adebayo Akinfenwa went close with a series of second-half efforts.

Gareth Ainsworth made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Port Vale last weekend, as Dominic Gape missed out due to injury while Luke O’Nien returned after a knee problem and Craig Mackail-Smith and Matt Bloomfield came into the side, with Nick Freeman and Curtis Thompson missing out.

After both sides emerged to an electric atmosphere inside Meadow Lane, the opening to the game was relatively quiet, with Notts defending well against a couple of early corners from the visitors.

The first chance of the game fell to the Magpies, with Scott Brown saving a low drive from Terry Hawkridge after Lewis Alessandra fed the ball into the path of his team-mate on 15 minutes.

They went closer on 22 minutes when Hawkridge found space to cross from the right and his delivery worked its way through to Shola Ameobi, who could only prod it against the post from six yards out.

At the other end, Adebayo Akinfenwa stabbed over after the ball fell kindly for him inside the box, before Joe Jacobson was booked for a foul on Hawkridge and Nathan Tyson followed him soon after, illegally stopping Dan Jones’s breakaway.

There was a flash point on 34 minutes when Notts appealed for a penalty as Ameobi went to ground under pressure from Adam El-Abd, but the referee waved away the appeals and proceeded to send Notts boss Kevin Nolan to the stands for his vehement protests, having issued him with a warning moments before.

As the rain fell heavily, right-back Tafari Moore collected an injury and was unable to continue, prompting a return to the side for Michael Harriman, making his first appearance from the bench since breaking his leg in training in October.

Then some hesitant defending from the Chairboys saw the ball break kindly for Matt Tootle to fire goalwards, with Brown equal to his effort, before the half came to an end with deadlock intact.

There were no changes during the break, and a yellow card was dished out to Chairboys keeper Brown for taking too long over a free-kick, before Hawkridge collected County’s first caution for a foul in the centre circle.

Harriman had a sight of goal when Joe Jacobson’s deep free-kick resulted in keeper Adam Collin left his line to punch the ball clear, but the effort flew over the bar from 30 yards.

Then Wycombe had the ball in the net when Nathan Tyson converted Akinfenwa’s header across goal from a free-kick, but the linesman’s flag was up to indicate an offside decision, and then County’s Tootle saw yellow.

Notts made the first change, introducing highly-rated Nottingham Forest loanee Jorge Grant for Hawkridge, and the game began to open up with both sides venturing into the opposition box only for moves to break down before the killer ball could be delivered.

Matt Bloomfield hit a left-footed half-volley wide from 20 yards before Sido Jombati went close to a second goal in as many away games, heading against the wrong side of the post from a Jacobson corner.

Shaun Brisley was the latest player to enter referee Ben Toner’s notebook for an act of dissent on 77 minutes, before Akinfenwa fired wide from just inside the box.

He went closer moments later, sending his header on target only to be denied by a smart stop from Collin, and made it a treble of successive opportunities when he shot wide of the near post.

Action swung to the other end and the woodwork was struck for the third time in the game when Elliott Hewitt met Jon Stead’s cross and his bundled effort was parried onto the post by Brown, before the Notts midfielder hit the rebound wide.

Liam Noble was booked before Akinfenwa put another chance a yard wide as the game ticked towards the 90-minute mark, and Paris Cowan-Hall came on for Craig Mackail-Smith just as six minutes’ stoppage time was added on.

There were further bookings for Ameobi and El-Abd following an altercation before a last-gasp corner gave County an opportunity to snatch all three points at the death, but Scott Brown held on to the ball, the point and a second successive clean sheet to keep maintain a four-point gap between the sides.

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