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Notts County 3-2 Oldham

Joe Jones

In Notts County's first match following the departure of Chris Kiwomya, the Meadow Lane faithful were treated to a five-goal thriller against Oldham Athletic which, we are glad to announce, went the right way, as the Magpies won a topsy-turvy match 3-2. Danny Haynes got on the end of a great Greg Tempest cross to head his side into the lead, before Adam Rooney bundled the ball into the Notts net on the stroke of half-time. The hour mark saw Notts triple their tally courtesy of Yoann Arquin and Callum McGregor, before a free kick from Johnson Clarke-Harris and twenty minutes of extensive pressure from Oldham ensured the home fans wouldn't need nail clippers for the next few weeks.

Caretaker manager Steve Hodge opted to give Academy defender Jordan Holt his debut at left-back, in a makeshift starting eleven which excluded Mustapha Dumbuya, Marcus Haber, Dean Leacock and Adam Coombes. Bartosz Bialkowski and Jack Grealish would return to the team, though, after their respective short-term injury spells.

Notts had a good start to the first half, Haynes crossing to Tempest on five minutes, the youngster heading wide, before the former had a chance of his own two minutes later.

Grealish also managed to get two quick corners in succession and Joss Labadie was put clean through by Curtis Thompson, the move sadly disallowed for offside.

Tempest and Haynes linked up again on 20 minutes, the striker's effort being deflected wide for a very significant corner - taken by Sheehan, Tempest got on it, then crossed over to Haynes for a very well placed header into the back of the net.

Oldham tried to push forward following the goal, but succeeded only in obtaining the first yellow card of the game, courtesy of David Mellor's foul on Labadie.

Grealish was next to try his luck, his header from the centre of the box going just wide. Sheehan was key there with a great cross.

On the half hour mark, James Wesolowski tried to pull one back for Oldham with a shot from outside the box, but this went well wide.

More half-chances would continue to be traded, though Labadie found himself one-on-one with Mark Oxley on 38, a great chance, but the Oldham keeper did just enough to deflect the shot.

The next significant act in the game was, sadly, yet another of those sucker punches which Notts have been suffering from all season. After a scrappy exchange between the two teams, Rooney managed to connect his head onto the ball and it did just enough to breach the goal line. The linesman awarded the goal, and on the cusp of half-time, 1-1 it was.

The start of the second half saw Manny Smith replace Thompson because of an injury, Gary Liddle shifting to right-back in the process.

The first significant contribution of the half was from the Latics, James Dayton breaching the Notts defence but overhitting his chip past the goal.

On 52, the same player attempted a right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left hand side of the Notts goal, but luckily it was just a bit too high.

After several more Oldham chances, courtesy of Mellor and Clarke-Harris, it was Notts' turn to do the sucker-punching after the game seemed to be slipping from beneath them. Liddle's cross was duly converted by Arquin on the hour, and 2-1 it was, to the joy of the three and a half thousand Notts fans in the stadium.

The pendulum would swing Notts' way, as the next ten minutes would all be Notts - courtesy of attempts by Haynes and McGregor - before the young Scot, stellar all season for the Magpies, then got his sixth league goal of the season thanks to a sweet left footed shot which sailed past Oxley.

There was a catch, though. We weren't to go into the 70th minute without Oldham getting a goal back. A soft free kick by Clarke-Harris pulled it back to 3-2.

The rest of the game was virtually all Oldham. Rooney and Anton Rodgers weighed in with shots, but thanks to a great defensive display in the final twenty minutes, Notts ground out the win. The Magpies find themselves off the foot of the table and in double figures for points. Though we can't declare we've turned a corner just yet - it would be the third time this season at least - it's a positive, and combined with the departure of Chris Kiwomya, it looks like real change is finally coming to Meadow Lane at last.

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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest professional football club. Created in 2013, it has served as a source of Magpie news, features, match previews, reports, analysis and interviews for more than three years.

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