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Notts earn derby redemption over Mansfield in JPT

Joe Jones

Notts County gave their fans something to cheer about in the form of a much-needed good performance, capped off with a comprehensive win over a local rival to whom they'd lost badly a few weeks prior, and finished off with cup progress and positive hopes for the next few games.

Sure, it was "just", as some say, the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, but nevertheless Notts claimed a solid 3-1 win over Mansfield Town - the opposition goal only scored from the spot in the 95th minute - which has gone some way towards changing the fans' outlook from glum to something brighter.

Notts started well, with opposition goalkeeper Brian Jensen having to pluck two crosses from the air and winning a race to the ball in the opening stages, while Graham Burke saw a shot blocked in the eighth minute.

The Magpies came close to opening the scoring just after the quarter-hour mark when Adam Campbell cut into the box from the left and rifled an effort against the post.

Jensen was once again involved when Jon Stead breached the Stags defence in the 25th minute, frantically getting down to claim the ball.

Ten minutes before the break, however, the visitors had a sterling chance of their own when McGuire sent Yussuf through one-on-one with Loach, only to see the keeper turn the ball behind for a corner.

An extended period of pressure from Mansfield followed, but Notts ended the first half strongly as Wes Atkinson fired across the face of goal and Haydn Hollis headed just wide of target.

Gill Swerts picked up an injury at the break, prompting veteran Mike Edwards to take his place on the pitch, but this didn’t affect Notts as they picked up from where they left off.

On 47 minutes, the impressive Campbell played a one-two with Stead to carve the Stags back line open, but Jensen palmed the ball out for a corner, which Edwards subsequently nodded over.

The breakthrough finally arrived on 52 minutes and, much to the relief of the increasingly nervous Notts fans, it fell their way as Izale McLeod was played through on goal before the move was finished off with a cute chip over Jensen and into the net.

Mansfield upped gear and pressed forward in a bid to force an equaliser, but with 11 minutes to go the hosts doubled their lead, courtesy of Steady Eddy himself, who got onto a loose ball following a scramble in the box and slotted between Jensen’s legs.

A cathartic, redemptive evening was confirmed in the 90th minute as Stead’s 20-yard free kick took a heavy deflection and wrongfooted the Stags stopper en route to the back of the net.

Mansfield did manage a late consolation as Edwards brought down Craig Westcarr in the last of five added minutes for a penalty, which the ex-Notts man converted, but it was too little too late as the final whistle blew on a solid victory which made amends for the league defeat just weeks ago.

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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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