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John Cofie signs on loan

By Chris, in News,

Notts County today have confirmed the signing of John Cofie on loan from Manchester United. John spent time earlier in the season with Sheffield United where he scored 2 goals in 16 appearances. He's a young striker at the age of 20, hopefully adding some hunger to our squad. Notts agreed terms on Thursday with United and he travelled to Meadow Lane on Friday morning to complete his move. He is the first signing under caretaker manager Chris Kiwomya, who has signed in a fairly decent prospect and will have a pacey player at his disposal.

Many fans might have hoped for a more experienced player, one whom may already have more playing experience but none the less we welcome John Cofie as a magpie!

He started his career off at Burnley where he was highly rated for being strong, determined but also very fast. He quickly earned a move to Manchester United where he stayed in their youth system until late 2010. After which he moved onto their reserves team, since being loaned out.

His first experience was found at Royal Antwerp of the Belgian Second Division which saw him play 13 times scoring 3 times.

Speaking to our own resident from Manchester SteveMUP regarding this loan signing, Steve told me that John is a very raw product but gives nothing less than 100%. “He's still regarded fairly highly amongst the United fans who follow our development system” Steve added. “I had hoped he would establish himself further at Sheffield United, he's a very fast player. I see him being a very useful signing for Notts County. Obviously this isn't a signing that your fans will be over the moon about, give the lad a chance first”.

John has been given the number 19 shirt, which makes him eligible for the game tomorrow. We encourage all fans to try to turn the recent events into positives, lets get behind the club and sing until we can't.

Crewe Alexandra come to Notts having won their last two games, one in which was against Coventry City in the JPT. Notts County will be focusing on changing the recent form which has seen them lose two away matches to the hands of struggling Hartlepool and then last tuesday against Stevenage. Crewe haven't beaten Notts in the league for awhile, so Chris Kiwomya could very well be the man to continue this record against them. Pride of Nottingham has taken the time to ask Mike and Andy a series of questions.

Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a fan for?

Mike: Hello, Thank you for this opportunity to Interact with some fellow football fans.

My name is Mike Sheridan, I have been a Crewe fan for 30 years and a season ticket holder for 25, ups and downs have been witnessed by my eyes at this club. Many of those at the hands of great clubs such as yours. I cannot wait for this game.

Andy: I have been a Crewe Alexandra fan for many years this is my 45th season and am the current Stadium Announcer

We share the same amount of points, however you have a game in hand, if you beat us on Saturday your team will be making steady ground towards the play-offs. How important is it for you and for the club to be pushing on for a place in the play-offs?

Mike: Our manager has said that the playoffs are his aim, but in my eyes finishing that high up is a bonus to surviving in a league we had no intentions of being in half way through last season. We are doing a bit better than what I expected though, so who knows!

Andy: P.O place isnt that important most fans would be happy with a mid table finish anything else is clearly a bonus, but we want that JPT now we've got such a great chance.

You haven't beaten Notts County in the league since 96/97 which since you've only managed to draw once, the rest resulting in defeats. Do you think this Saturday will be different considering our recent events?

Mike: Is that how long its been? Wow, what a real thorn in our side! to be honest anything can happen on the day, I have always been a passionate believer in that when 22 men get on a football field. No records or off field situations have anything to do with their performances and overall result.

Andy: Yes our record against County is very poor at best, on the back of a 0-3 win away at Coventry confidence has to be high.

At the start of the season who did you think would win the league but also get promoted and finish in the play-offs?

Mike: I genuinely thought Coventry and Preston would be the big two pushing around the auto promotion places. Swindon, Stevanage, Sheffield and yourselves were also top runners in my predictions.

Andy: The obvious as in Sheff Utd and I always fancied Swindon to do well, P.O places I predicted could be County, MK, Doncaster and PNE.

Crewe Alexandra have produce some of the best youths at our level, some of which have gone onto bigger clubs, such as David Vaughan. How many of your own youths feature in your current squad and do you rate any coming through the ranks?

Mike: If you think back to our Wembley win, I think all but 3 of our starting XI were youth graduates. At the moment however with new signings from last summer and a couple of loanees I think That number is more like 5/6 depending on what side Davis goes with.

I could name a few young lads who are coming the youth system, but I don’t think Mr. Gradi would be best pleased with me publicizing their names
Joe Jones
Whilst some players are able to drag a team to the next level, others are able to stop a team from falling into the previous one, inspiring their team mates and excelling where others are failing.
A rare shining light during two of Notts County's darkest seasons, Glynn Hurst's goals helped keep the Magpies safe when they were at their lowest ebb, when "previous level" meant "non-league" and possibly "extinction". The Barnsley-born player, much like a lower-league Dimitar Berbatov, delighted and frustrated in equal measure, but will always be remembered fondly by the Notts fans.
Born on the 17th January 1976, Hurst grew up in South Africa before returning to England, where he joined Tottenham Hotspur as an apprentice.
In 1994, he joined his birthtown club, where, given his young age and the club challenging for a place in the Premier League, he spent time on loan at clubs like Swansea and Mansfield.
Hurst played eight games for the Tykes in total before signing for Emley AFC (now known as Wakefield FC) in the Northern Premier League, where his impressive goal rate of twelve in fifteen appearances saw him snapped up by Ayr United, then in the Scottish First Division.
It was during his three years with the "Honest Men" that Hurst established himself as a class striker; his two full seasons, in 98/99 and 99/00, he was the club's top goalscorer, with twenty and fourteen goals respectively, and by the time he left, First Division Stockport County paying £200,000 for his services, he'd netted 49 goals in 78 league appearances.
Things didn't quite work out with the Hatters, his 27 appearances between February and December 2001 yielding just four goals, and he moved to Chesterfield before the year's end.
With the Spireites, he had more success, scoring 29 goals during his time there over two and a half years in Derbyshire, but it is perhaps his final goal for the club which is the most remembered, his last-minute winner against Luton Town in the final game of the season ensuring Chesterfield, bottom at Christmas, survived the drop.
Signed by Gary Mills with a view to rebuilding the squad following relegation and near-liquidation, Hurst rejected a new deal with the Spireites to sign for the Magpies, the striker debuting against Chester City in the first game of the League 2 season, and opened his account against Bristol Rovers a week later, his goal not enough to prevent a 2-1 away defeat.
He put in a brilliant performance in the Pies' League Cup tie against West Ham on 21st September, before hitting a devastating hat-trick away at Rochdale four days later, prompting Mills to call him "...the best player at West Ham, and the best player here today."
A natural goalscorer by trade, Hurst had great potential, and on form was a brilliant asset to the team, causing no end of problems with his bustling presence and talent in front of goal. However, Hurst was very much what you'd call a "confidence player", and although he was able to put in great performances, like he did against West Ham, Rochdale and Macclesfield in the first half of the season, his form, and as a result his confidence, dipped towards the second half, going eight weeks without a goal during one dry spell. Furthermore, there were many occasions where, sadly, his goals weren't enough to prevent Notts losing.
However, despite this, he still finished the campaign with fifteen goals, a good achievement considering the team ended the season in 19th place.
The beginning of the 2005/06 season saw Hurst back on form, scoring five in the first eight league games as the team propelled into the promotion places, before a fall-out with then manager Gudjon Thordarson saw the player dropped after a discussion between the two "became out of order".
A month later, the striker bagged a hat-trick against Bury to give Notts the win, and two weeks later scored the first in a 2-1 win against Boston United, but despite being the team's top scorer, the combination of differences between player and manager and the club needing to cut costs saw Hurst released by mutual consent on the 29th December.
Joining Shrewsbury a few days later, the striker scored on his debut against Wrexham, but he never quite regained his Magpies form, scoring just twice more in fifteen more matches.
Back and achilles problems saw him lose his place in the Shrews first-team the following season, and to regain his form, was loaned to Bury. There, he burst into form, scoring five in five, impressing the Shakers hierarchy so much they decided to first extend his loan, then sign him outright.
At Bury, it was a similar story to Notts - sporadic flashes of brilliance, followed by dry patches, with the occasional falling out with the coaching and management. He initially forged a fruitful partnership with Andy Bishop, but in 2007/08, his form once again dropped. He was nonetheless offered a new contract ahead of the 08/09 season, manager Alan Knill considering him to be a key squad player.
In the summer of 2009, Hurst was released from his contract, and after playing a few pre-season friendlies with Chester City, spent time on the books of non-league Gainsborough Trinity, Hyde United and finally, FC United of Manchester.
In 2011, Glynn Hurst officially retired from playing football, and after studying to become a teacher, he now teaches Religious Education at Sacred Heart Catholic College in Crosby, Liverpool.
A good servant to the club during a tumultuous time, the Barnsley-born player will always be remembered fondly at Meadow Lane.
Share your thoughts about Glynn Hurst on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
Joe Jones
It's amazing how quickly things change. Just ten days ago, Notts County travelled down to London seeking their 23rd unbeaten game on the road against Leyton Orient, the one still shining light of an otherwise darkening season. Now, a four-match spell away from Meadow Lane has gifted us just one win, a laboured effort against abyss-destined Portsmouth, and three defeats. The latest one, against Stevenage Borough tonight, was the most disappointing, purely because of its predictability.

Conceding an early goal? Check. Great build-up play but inability to convert chances? Check. The third box, which is conceding from set-pieces, stays unticked, at least tonight, but all three need to be addressed by the coaching team and players if we're to stop freefalling towards the lower echelons of the league, with a team that, on paper, should be challenging for promotion.

Caretaker boss Chris Kiwomya made one change to the team that played Hartlepool at the weekend, Gavin Mahon replacing Joss Labadie in centre-midfield, while teenagers Greg Tempest and Tyrell Waite were on the bench.

Stevenage, so often our bogey team, took only 21 seconds to go in front, and although it was quite freakish, Filipe Morais' shot deflecting off his team-mate into the path of Sam Hoskins, who converted leaving Fabian Speiss with no chance, you couldn't help but feel our three-man defence has not been so solid lately.

Notts had the ball in the back of the net soon after the kick-off, but unfortunately Jeff Hughes' effort was disallowed for offside.

The game settled before long, both teams having fair shares of possession, JCR being Notts' standout player, as per the last few games. He delivered some good crosses into the Boro box, but those weren't converted.

Aside from an attempt from Stevenage to score another on the half hour mark, which Lucas Atkins failed to convert, it was all Notts from then on. The Magpies had six corners by half time, all in the last ten minutes, but none of these came to fruition and the half finished 1-0 to the home side, who had two players booked for bad tackles. David Gray's on Yoann Arquin was particularly horrific, and could have easily been a red.

The second half started with Stevenage threatening, decent efforts from Gray and Greg Tansey being blocked by Dean Leacock, but Notts rallied to produce the best chance of the game so far, Arquin playing Zoko through but the Ivorian's shot just wide of the top-right corner.

JCR then burst into the Stevenage box and saw his effort deflected, the rebound falling to Alan Judge whose shot was saved by Boro keeper Steve Arnold.

The remainder of the game saw Notts and Boro trade chances, the former going through another spell of racking up corner kicks, before the home side, in a cruel twist of fate, then scored the second, despite all of Notts' efforts, as Gray's cross found Marcus Haber's head to beat Speiss and seal the victory.

So at the end of the game, Notts remain five points off the play-offs, but considering we've lost our talismanic striker, are without a manager, and suffer from the same old problems resurfacing time after time - the brittle three-man defence, conceding early or from set pieces, and the toothlessness in attack - it's time to realise that this season is at risk of unravelling before our very eyes, and we must address these issues as soon as possible.
After the dismissal of Keith Curle, Notts will be facing Stevenage with Chris Kiwomya acting as caretaker manager. Notts are five points away from the play off spots so it will be vital for our lads to keep their heads down and just get stuck in if we're to gain a play off spot. Stevenage sit 15th with two games in-hand of Notts and if they were to win they'd be on the same amount of points as us. Pride of Nottingham once again asks two opposition fans a series of questions as we gain their view ahead of our league one clash.

Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a fan for?

Chris: Been a fan since 2003, when I went to my first game as a seven year old. Been going along regularly since then, and have now been a season ticket holder for four years.

Josh: I'm 17 on Thursday, so Tuesday is a big game for me. I'm a passionate supporter who loves the club and have been a fan for 10 years this august. My first game was a 0-0 draw against Chester City in 2003, and have been a Stevenage fan ever since. I'd never watched a game of

football before, not even on TV, so I have Stevenage to thank for my love of football.

After a pretty good start Stevenage found themselves near the top of the table however things started to drop since your 4-0 defeat to Swindon Town. Can tell us how things are going for you now?

Chris: Home performances recently have often been dire - no win in 15 weeks at Broadhall Way, and don't appear to be picking up any time soon. Our away form has been patchy too, but we look to be on track for a lower mid table finish, thanks to our excellent start to the season.

Josh: I think we need stability. Results have been getting to the fans and players and to shut off teams, get a few 0-0 draws and then push on from there would do us no harm. We showed signs of improvement against Doncaster, however lacked anything good against Orient. I think we'll pick up form and have a good mid table finish, however I couldn't tell you when I think that'll start.

On 3/2/2013 Notts County announced that they had parted ways with Keith Curle, as an opposition fan what are your thoughts on this and do you see it as being something Stevenage can capitalize on?

Chris: I can see it going one of two ways. Either the County players will kick into life and secure the three points, or it will give our players the thought that they can get something from the game. I was surprised to see him sacked, although I'm not sure why given the way modern football is! At the end of the day despite County's recent poor form, you're still only five points off the play-offs.

Josh: Notts are in a reasonably good position, table wise. 5 points outside play offs, and they can easily be made up as we've seen from other teams such as Coventry and Bournemouth. However if the club don't feel the manager is able to do this, then I can understand the sacking. As for the second question, I think we could capitalise on it, although we lost our manager last season and pulled out 3 fantastic results before getting a new manager in. So although I think we could gain an advantage from it, teams react differently to losing a manager and you could well rally behind the captain or leader figure of the team and play well.

How busy has your club been during the transfer/loan window?

Chris: We've released a couple of players who haven't featured at all this season, and brought in three new players. We've been light up top all season, so brought in two young strikers on loan - Sam Hoskins from Southampton who is a small but pacey striker who looks like he could do well for us. The other loan signing was Steve Beleck - intriguing because he is technically a Udinese player, on loan at Watford, who then loaned him out to us. He's the complete opposite of Hoskins - big, strong, and suitably good in the air. He also seems to be a decent signing, although time will tell. Finally we signed Leyton Orient's captain and centre half Ben Chorley who made his debut against the club he had just joined us from on Saturday. Too early to tell how well he'll do here, but he put in a decent shift.

Josh: 2 loan players in Steve Beleck and Sam Hoskins, both of whom look like good players. Belecks a strong and tricky character, while Hoskins looks nimble and a very tough character to handle. Chorley is the permanent signing, the orient captain joining us on deadline day. He seems like a strong, reliable defender and has definitely given us a more resilient defence.

Currently Stevenage are sitting in 15th place but with games in hand, where do you see your club going from here on?

Chris: I see us slipping further away from the play-offs, our away form should be enough to see us easily clear of relegation, but the awful home performances will stop us climbing the table. Given the size of our club, and the fact we bought almost an entirely new squad in the summer, I think most of us would have taken safety at the end of this season.

Josh: We'll strengthen, learn from mistakes and push on. Our games in hand are tough, Notts, Brentford home and away and Bury away will prove difficult challenges and will require serious planning. On our current form, I would expect 4/5 points at best.

What are your thoughts on Gary Smith currently and how did you feel about his appointment at the time?

Chris: I was impressed with his appointment at the start. It was obviously very disappointing when Graham Westley left us given the amount of success he had given us, but bringing in a coach who had won the MLS with the lowest budget in the league gave me hope for the future. Currently, I can't make my mind up about him. On one hand, I've been happy with most of his signings and a mid-table finish is fine by me with the new squad. However, it does worry me at times that the fans can spot mistakes straight away, which he then won't attempt to fix for several games - and the fact he spends the vast majority of his time on the touchline leaning on the dugout with his hands in his pockets. I do think by sticking with him we'll achieve some more success though, in time.

Josh: I feel he can do well with the team if the fans give him a chance. He's bound to make mistakes in the transfer window and we'll develop as I said. Hearing of his success in America I was excited on hearing of his appointment. Westley had been a massive part of the clubs history and although it's cliqued, it felt like a new era for the club.

Can you tell me which Stevenage players poise a threat to our team and who has been your overall best player of the season so far?

Chris: Frankly, right now none of our players pose a threat to anyone! On his day Freeman can be an absolutely class act but he has found himself frozen out of the team recently. Lucas Akins, our right winger and top scorer, has his good games too. Player of the season so far for me personally would be our central midfielder James Dunne, who we picked up from Exeter City in the summer. He's got it all - tackling, interceptions, vision, passing and a decent shot too.

Josh: I'm not a Preston player I can't give away team information. But on a serious note, Tansey can hit a good strike, and Akins and Morais can prove very troublesome down the wings. In defence, Roberts is a commanding figure and a great captain at CB, and Gray get's forward well from RB. Hoskins looks very tricky up front and could be a handful.

Which Notts County players do you feel Stevenage will have to be wary of and who do you consider to be our best player?

Chris: Thinking back to the away game earlier this season, I thought Zoko and Showunmi looked like a threat - I certainly wouldn't want to be the centre back given the job of marking them. Hard to say who I feel your best player is overall though, I'll been impressed with some of the saves I've seen Bialkowski make on the Football League Show though so I'll go for him!

Josh: Campbell-Ryce scored against us last time, and Jeff Hughes has caused us problems in the past. Alan Judge is a good player and could be a real threat to us.

Please tell Pride of Nottingham about Stevenage, the ground and anything which may be important to away fans?

Chris: Stevenage isn't as bad as some people make it out to me, and the ground is in a reasonably pleasant location. My only advice would be to avoid the burger bar!

Josh: Macdonalds, Asda, Burger King, all en route from the train station to the ground. You'll get no problems from Stevenage fans, we're a nice bunch and are more interested in the game.

Do you ever visit opposition fans forums? If so will you be visiting any of Notts County's prior to our game to look up the general on-goings of the club?

Chris: I normally visit opposition forums a few days before games - I'll definitely be keeping an eye on Notts County's especially given the sacking of Curle.

Josh: I rarely do, however if something big has happened like the signing of the player from another club, I'll look to see what their thoughts are on him.

What has the weather been like at Stevenage recently?

Chris: The same as most of the country - wet. Thankfully the pitch looked fine on Saturday, but you'll need to wrap up warm on Tuesday night if you're making the trip!

Josh: It's brightened up recently, and has felt a bit less like winter and more like spring. That's jinxed it however and it'll probably hammer down on Tuesday now I've said that.

How do you see your season finishing and where do you feel Notts County will finish by the end of the season?

Chris: As I've said I'm predicting a lower mid-table finish for us. I do feel however that the winner of our match on Tuesday will have earned a massive victory - it could be the platform that both of us need to push on for the play-offs - who knows. I reckon County will finish just outside the play-off spots though, around about where they are now.

Josh: I think we'll finish in similar positions, both seem to be having similar form and problems. And I expect both teams to pick up. 8th to 12th for both of us I think.

Additional Note:
I hope we'll see a good game on Tuesday, and all the best for the rest of the season.

We would like to Thank both Chris and Josh for taking the time to answer our questions.

Keith Curle Sacked!

By UniPie, in News,

Keith Curle has today been relieved of his duties as Notts County manager with immediate effect. Notts were disappointing against Hartlepool with the performance not reaching the standard of a team who sat nearly 30 points above then bottom of the league Hartlepool. Notts now look forward in their search for a new manager to replace Curle, and with a few big names jobless at present, speculation will be flooding the media for the next week or two. Being a Notts fan it is not unusual to expect sackings and changes of manager.

A poor run of form when many believe Notts should be at least battling away in the play-offs would most normally be the primary reason for a manager’s departure. In this case however, Mr. Trew explains that ‘this (was) a business decision as much as a footballing one’ going on to explain that ‘fans are obviously key to the club and their support is essential’.

Whilst many will over-look this as they begin to dream of big name managers such as Nigel Adkins or Simon Grayson, that small quote demonstrates something quite extraordinary. Perhaps that Trew was forced into sacking Curle not as a result of the loss to Hartlepool, but rather the resulting expectation of a miniscule attendance for Notts’ next home game. I feel that fan power has truly cost Keith Curle his job and one can imagine a sympathetic call to Curle on Sunday afternoon from the board.

Alas, with Keith Curle gone and Notts still able to push into the playoffs with a good run of results, Curle will become a distant memory. I would suggest that the next manager to appointed will be one with good public relations, especially in interviews and winning the respect of fans. If there’s one thing Mr. Trew wants, that is much increased home attendances to get money circulating around Notts again. With a capable squad and the right manager at the helm, the potential for a great season is not all lost.
Joe Jones
Just when it looked like Notts had got themselves back on track after beating Portsmouth in midweek, a second away defeat in three games, against the bottom team in the league, takes us back to square one. The unbeaten run now a distant memory, Hartley and Poole did it for Hartlepool, the appropriately named players scoring to beat the Magpies 2-1 at Victoria Park. The defeat proved to be Keith Curle's last match in charge, as the Notts board relieved him of his duties on Sunday.

Neal Bishop’s three-game suspension meant Joss Labadie was handed his first start since September, as part of a 3-1-4-2 formation. Gary Liddle, a former Poolie, was handed the skipper's armband, and received a warm welcome from the home supporters after six years with the club.

As has happened much too frequently this season, Notts were sliced open within minutes and conceded early. Jamal Campbell-Ryce did well to win a corner in the 4th minute, but it was cleared and Hartlepool broke, a Jonathan Franks ball connecting with James Poole, who lifted it over the back-pedalling JCR and struck a great volley to silence the travelling Notts fans. First blood Hartlepool.

Notts came back all guns blazing, JCR's cross very nearly finding Judge while Labadie attempted a shot from distance, but Hartlepool followed with more chances of their own, Liddle having to be at his best to deny Charlie Wyke inside the six-yard box.

It wasn't until the half hour mark that Notts threatened again, Judge firing wide and Hughes fluffing a close-range shot, Francois Zoko the architect of both those chances.

Notts pressed on, however, and JCR very nearly equalised, but for a great block from Hartley, before the resulting corner connected with Arquin and, but for Neil Austin's block, would have been 1-1, the goalkeeper Scott Flinders beaten.

JCR, having a fantastic game on the wing, crossed for Zoko but was headed into the keeper's arms, while at the other end, Fabian Speiss bravely kept out Poole, saving at his feet.

Half-time saw Keith Curle replace Labadie with Julian Kelly, shifting Liddle into midfield, and only two minutes into the second half, Sheehan's high cross drew Flinders off his line, but Zoko once again headed straight at the keeper, a golden opportunity wasted.

Speiss, proving himself to be a fantastic deputy for the injured Bialkowski, superbly saved Franks's powerful effort, and Notts' efforts came to fruition when, on 52 minutes, JCR beat two players and curled a brilliant shot into the far corner, sending the 271 travelling Magpies into raptures. 1-1.

Invigorated, Notts pressed on, with Judge, Arquin and Sheehan all having chances, but sadly, their failure to convert this was punished, as that other weak spot in the team resurfaced - set-pieces. Evan Horwood's free kick wasn't properly defended and Peter Hartley met it with his head and trickled into the net. A poor goal to concede, 2-1 Hartlepool.

It could have been 3-1 from exactly the same situation but for the excellent Speiss, who is sure to give Bialkowski a hard job forcing his way back into the first team once fully fit, denying Horwood and Poole from another free-kick.

Notts kept attacking the Pools goal, but lacked the killer touch. Arquin fired a volley but was just off target, while Judge's header on 75 minutes was charged down by Sam Collins and smothered by Flinders.

In a bizarre substitution, the losing side saw Arquin, a forward, replaced by the midfielder Hamza Bencherif, much to the chagrin of the Notts fans. The young Romello Nangle also came on for Zoko, but the Hartlepool defence would no longer be breached, and so it ended 2-1 to the County Durham side. They stay bottom, eight points from safety, while Notts remain tenth on goal difference, level on points with MK Dons, Crewe and Leyton Orient, and looking for a new manager after parting company with Keith Curle.
It's a special double featured opposition view from Pride of Nottingham, as we speak with two Hartlepool United fans Mr Ripper and Poole In Nottingham. Notts will be looking to continue our new away record by making it 2 wins from 2 away games, whilst Hartlepool will be eager to cause us trouble. Hartlepool sit at the bottom of the table and their fans will be hoping for some light ahead of the difficult situation Hartlepool United find themselves in. It has been interesting for myself to read two fans views so I hope you enjoy the feature as much as I have.

Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a fan for?

Mr R: I'm 39 and have been a fan for as long as I can remember. My dad took me to my first game when I was about 4 or 5.

Poolie: I've been a Poolie since I was taken to my first game in 1983. We beat Halifax 3-0 and I was hooked. I moved to Nottingham in 1995 and have lived here ever since (in Beeston for the last 10 years or so). My job is selling and installing EPOS till systems. Me and oldest son Ewan are season ticket holders. For 5 years I was the editor of 'Monkey Business', the Pools fanzine, which is sadly no longer in print but is online now.

Things haven't been going too well for Hartlepool United so far this season, could you tell me your views of the season up to this point?

Mr R: We've been crap. Not just results wise but generally performance wise too. Performances have picked up slightly in the last month or two but at least half of the players we've got just aren't good enough.

Poolie: It's been the worst I can remember. Many years ago we were bad, but that's because we had no money. Now we have money, but a collection of pea-hearted money grabbers masquerading as footballers. Unfit, uninterested and unlikely to find another league club when we release them. Before we played Sheffield United at the end of December, Own Goal was joint top scorer with 2, which I think is indicative of our plight.

Your recent form is slightly better than the teams above you, do you feel the club can pull off a great escape?

Mr R: A great escape? It would be monumental and would probably require four or five signings or half a dozen of the current bottom 10 teams going into admin and being docked at least 10 points!

Poolie: Not a chance. If they do I will run round Market Square on a Saturday afternoon wearing nothing but a red indian headdress.

At the start of the season Notts signed Gary Liddle who has been putting in impressive performances for us. How much of a loss is his presence form Hartlepool United?

Mr R: Liddle was good when we first got him but to be honest he was gash for the last two seasons. The Liddle of the last two seasons he was here is no miss whatsoever.

Poolie: Even if he was still here I don't think he'd have made too much difference. He'd been stale for the last couple of years anyway, so I wasn't really sorry to see him leave.

Can you tell me your highlights from past and present memories of following your club away from home?

Mr R: Highlights away from home? Before IOR (the current owners) bought the club the highlight of away days was the beer and the craic and getting a draw was a rare feat to savour. Since then we've had cracking away days including sealing play off places on the last day of the season and that can't really be bettered by anything other than a 3-0 win on our only ever visit to former local rivals Darlow's big daft ground.

Poolie: Best away game is probably Peterborough away. First game back in the third tier for a long time. Blazing hot day, and we came back from 2 goals down twice to win 4-3. I've seen us play at about 70 grounds, including Meadow Lane about 6 times. There's lots of away days I miss - Sincil Bank, Field Mill, Millmoor - I even had a soft spot for Saltergate. I love a London trip, Charlton away where several hundred drunken Poolies dressed as Smurfs was brilliant.

Often previous players come back to haunt their clubs, with Neal Bishop our captain suspended many expect Liddle to return back to midfield, how would it feel if he scored on Saturday?

Mr R: I'd only be as bothered as if any of your players scored to be honest.

Poolie: I hope no County players score on Saturday, but as we haven't kept a clean sheet since what seems like the Boer War, its highly likely they will. It doesn't matter to me which players score against us, they are all bastards to me.

What formation do you see John Hughes playing and if you was to make the calls what would you do differently in terms of tactics?

Mr R: We have a formation? Somebody should tell the players. If it was up to me I'd give them slightly different instructions to the current "go out there and run about a bit" that they appear to be being told.

Poolie: Don't change a winning team, so keep the same starting line up that despatched Pompey last week. As for tactics, I don't know if our players are capable of understanding any.

Who poses Notts County a risk and which players would you say we need to mark?

Mr R: Not telling you. (none really)

Poolie: You're just as likely to score an own goal than we are to score, but I would keep an eye on James Poole, as he has a point to prove after being left out for so long.

Which players of Notts County do you feel could influence the game and would therefore require being marked by which of your players?

Mr R: No idea, but if you've got any players with a bit of pace they should enjoy themselves.

Poolie: Probably all of them - your keeper could have ten minutes up front at some point and you'll still come away with a clean sheet.

This game will be my first away game for awhile, can you tell me about Hartlepool in general and about your stadium?

Mr R: Hartlepool is great, on the coast, lovely beaches, good pubs, cracking beer. The ground is small but tidy although you get the short straw in your end if you're behind a pillar but it is the best stand in the ground for acoustics.

Poolie: The ground has loads of character, with different sized stands built at different times. It's compact, and there's a low roof on the away end which amplifies any singing. Hartlepool is one of many former industrial towns around the country which have been neglected over the years. Not all of it is pretty, but we have a superb beach, Poolies are very friendly with a good sense of humour, virtually everything important (beer, food, taxis) is cheaper than in most places, and the fish and chips are great.

Where do you see Notts County finishing at the end of the year?

Mr R: Mid table.

Poolie: 10th.

How many fans do you think will be in attendance on Saturday?

Mr. R: Seeing as though we've sold a fair few season tickets and had a few Saturday games postponed recently we might edge towards 4k if we're lucky and the weather isn't awful.

Poolie: Under 3000. We have around 4000 season ticket holders, but given our awful performances, large numbers have decided to do something better on Saturday afternoons, such as unblocking drains or watching paint that has dried actually crack and fall off. I have to work this weekend, so I don't have to think of excuse.

We would like to Thank both Mr Ripper and Poolie In Nottingham for taking the time to answer our questions.

Neal Bishop Interview!

By Chris, in Media,

Pride of Nottingham had kindly been allowed permission by Neal Bishop to ask him a series of questions. As one of our only surviving League Two winning players at the time, we were hopeful of being able to ask Neal some questions about his time at the club which he kindly accepted. During a busy December period the questions were sent across to Neal but unfortunately I waited to publish his answers. We're very grateful for the time and kindness shown by Neal who was expecting his first child with his partner Fran, which shows his dedication towards fans.

Having spent time in the lower leagues, how did you feel when you made the step up to the football league with Barnet?

Yeah i was delighted, i think i was 25 when the chance came to go into the football league with Barnet, there was a bit of interest from other clubs but Barnet made me feel like they really wanted me so it made my choice easy.

How does this reflect now, having played with Notts in League one and being promotion challenges for the Championship?

Looking back i honestly can say i wouldn't change the way my career has progressed, obviously i would have liked to go into the football league earlier but i loved my time in non league and met some great people so i wouldn't change that for the world

Do you have any match day rituals?

I've got no rituals are superstitions on a match day, as long as your preparation is spot on I don't believe putting 1 boot on before another makes that much difference!

What's it like at Christmas being a professional footballer?

Christmas is actually a time of year i really enjoy as its non stop games, and as a footballer, there's nothing better than playing competitive games, it can be hard on lads who are away from there family's but we get our time off come May so we cant really complain

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far and what are your ambitions for the future?

I think there's been so many personal highlights in the last few years it impossible to single out 1, the Man City games were brilliant, beating Sunderland, winning league 2, going to Juve, been made captain, all have been fantastic, for the future, the aim of myself and the football club has got to be the championship

What's your favourite music, any particular bands/singers?

I'm not someone who follows a particular singer or band, my music collection is fairly eclectic, there's stuff in there from 60s soul to 90s dance!

What's been your favourite Notts shirt and football shirt in general?

My personal favourite was the home shirt of our 1st season in league 1, as for the away shirts i like the pink 1 we currently play in

You and Lee Hughes feature in our flyer, what are your thoughts on being featured on it for a Fan Site?

Aha! very good! any picture I'm in with Hughsey as great as he makes me look like I've got hair!

Apart from Lee Hughes, you are the only Notts player remaining from the 2009/10 season. What's it like for players who come in on loan or on a transfer that don't know any other players?

I've never done it myself but i imagine its really hard to come into a new dressing room, full of strangers, knowing you could be gone again in a week or so, however since I've been here our dressing room has been full of great lads and anyone who has come in has been welcomed in to the group from day 1

Lastly, what would you say would be your most defining moment of this season so far?

I'm hoping this seasons defining moment is yet to come!

Please note that the questions were asked before Lee Hughes's departure. We would also like to Thank Neal for answering our questions and congratulate Neal and Fran! On their first child little baby Oscar! (Future Notts captain no doubt)
Joe Jones
Over the years, many football clubs with a proud history and tradition have found themselves staring into the abyss. Manchester City, Portsmouth FC, Luton Town, Leeds United, Southampton FC, Sheffield United, and in recent times Swindon Town. Many more have come close to extinction because of problems, financial or otherwise. Notts County in the mid-2000s were one such club, administration and near-liquidation on the verge of condemning the club to a long spell outside the football league and possibly out of existence.
Inspirational, hard-working, talismanic signings are needed to drag the club "kicking and screaming" out of the mire. Andy Morrison famously did so for Manchester City in 98/99, and for Notts, none were more determined and dogged, not to mention more "talismanic" (in a literal sense) than Richard "Ricky" Ravenhill.
Brought in by Ian McParland in May 2009, with Notts County having finished a second consecutive year in the bottom six of the Football League, Ravenhill, part of the Doncaster Rovers team that scaled from the Conference to League 1 in just two years, knew what it took to get out of the bottom division of English league football.
Born in 1981, the Doncastrian was part of the Leeds United academy, joining the club as a ten-year old. He then became part of Barnsley's youth team in 2000, and was a promising youth and reserve team player, before hometown club Doncaster Rovers snapped up the combative midfielder in early 2002.
His arrival at the then-Conference side was a precursor to the club's rapid rise up the league pyramid, as the South Yorkshire club ended up being the first club to go up into the Football League by virtue of the play-offs in 2003. Previously, the Conference only admitted the winner into what was then known as Division Three.
The following year, Ravenhill helped his team achieve back-to-back promotions, as Doncaster defied all expectations to win the title and propel his team to fixtures against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford, regional giants which were playing in the Premiership not long before.
He also partook in Doncaster’s incredible 2005-06 League Cup run, beating Manchester City and Aston Villa before taking Arsenal all the way to penalties in the quarter-finals. In total, the midfielder clocked up 137 appearances for Donny.
By 2006, however, Ravenhill found first-team opportunities scarce and, after a brief loan at Chester City, was released, signing a one-year contract with Grimsby Town. In January 2007 he went on loan to Darlington, where he finally found his stride and, once the Shakers made the deal permanent in the summer, became a fan favourite.
In total, he made 88 appearances for Darlington, before financial issues meant the club had to allow him to leave on a free transfer.
Notts County, rebuilding the team following two disastrous seasons in the bottom tier of the Football League, signed the midfielder, "Charlie" McParland describing the deal as a "massive bonus for (Notts)".
He made his debut in the first game of the 09/10 season, playing part in a 5-0 drubbing of Bradford City at Meadow Lane. Throughout the course of the season, he became a fan favourite for his combative, full-blooded style of play, snapping away at opposition players, breaking up play and linking the defence and attack, while off the pitch, he would keep a calm, collective head in the face of the whirlwind events taking place at the Lane, often sharing his honest, erudite views with the local media.
Despite all the uncertainty regarding his position in the team - marquee signings were often rumoured to be in discussions with Notts - and, later in the season, the future of the club itself, Ravenhill's professionalism, heart-on-sleeve approach and determination led to him starting 40 of 46 league games as the team conquered League Two, winning 14 of their last 18 games to clinch the title.
Though he excelled in his role of midfield enforcer, not afraid to put his body and disciplinary record on the line for the good of the team, he also managed to get himself on the scoresheet several times in spectacular fashion.
He scored the opener against Macclesfield away in August 2009, an outstanding volley against Burton Albion four months later, in a performance described by then-caretaker boss Dave Kevan as worthy of "man-of-the-match" (despite Lee Hughes scoring a hat-trick in the same game) and another stunning strike in the home game against Morecambe in mid-April, during which he admits he was tired and "heavy-legged" following the birth of his second child two days prior.
A season fraught with uncertainty and drama, 2009/10 ended joyously for Notts, with Ravenhill overseeing a third career promotion and getting his hands on a second championship crown. The talisman had made it happen again.
The 2010/11 season, with Notts back in the third tier after a six-year absence, saw more of the same from Ravenhill, playing 24 league games and taking part in two classic FA Cup matches against eventual winners Manchester City, nearly beating the Premiership giants at Meadow Lane.
In September 2011, he was in the starting eleven against Italian giants Juventus for the first ever game at their new stadium, an unforgettable evening for both clubs.
Sadly, things took a turn for the worse for Ravenhill, as a collision with a Tranmere Rovers player left him sidelined with concussion, and in his absence, Gavin Mahon cemented his position in central midfield alongside Neal Bishop.
Ravenhill made only two more league starts for Notts, against Colchester United, two months after he was injured against Tranmere, and against Wycombe at Meadow Lane, but with his contract running out at the end of the season and manager Martin Allen not being able to guarantee him first-team football, the decision was made to let Ricky go on loan to Bradford City, where he impressed the Bantams so much they offered him a two-and-a-half-year contract.
The player enjoyed a bright spell at the Yorkshire club as they battled to the final of the 2013 League Cup against all odds, beating three Premier League sides among the way, and earning promotion to League One at the end of the season.
The twilight years of Ravenhill's career would subsequently take him to Northampton Town, Mansfield Town and Buxton FC, where he continues to play today.
Share your thoughts about Ricky Ravenhill on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
Keith Curle was on a hiding to nothing as Notts ventured to Portsmouth for the re-arranged League One encounter – and in spite of victory only more causes for concern returned to Nottingham. Pompey are a club in absolute crisis. Ahead of facing the Magpies for the third time this season, having lost in the return at Meadow Lane and in the FA Cup at Fratton Park, they had gone 15 games without a win. Twelve of those had been defeats with the most recent a 3-1 loss at home to the only side below them in the table, the equally woeful Hartlepool.

Forget Pompey having been in the Premier League this time two years ago, forget them having won the FA Cup as recently as 2008, they are nothing short of an appalling football club at the minute – and you can only feel sorry for a very loyal group of fans, for it is the off-pitch finances that have crippled their once proud club.

So much so that Curle knew he had to win at Fratton Park. He had to recover from Saturday’s first away defeat in his almost year-long tenure, losing 2-1 at Leyton Orient, and start another away run. This time with victory.

Nothing else would do. Regardless of Notts’ own disappointing form which has seen the play-offs become a distant dream having figured in the top six for so much of the season, playing Pompey at the moment should result in just one thing – three points. And really by two or three goals.

As it was, two came – but only just. It was agonising viewing and listening as the Magpies struggled to not only break down a Portsmouth side with several youth products and short-term contracted players. Not only that, but the hosts were the more threatening for long periods.

Notts’ lack of striking options again showed its head as balls were fizzed across the box, and possession well kept, but nothing was showing up top. The almost constant need for a new striker again reared its head as Pompey dealt with the very little attacks mustered by Curle’s men with the ease of a side that had instead gone 15 games without losing.

Passing was poor, albeit in difficult conditions, and optimism drained.

Finally, Jeff Hughes eased the tension in the 81st minute, before Francois Zoko, at last, rounded things off. There was time for Neal Bishop to foolishly get sent off, incredibly Notts’ seventh dismissal of the season. But three points were secure.

Nothing more than that though. It was the very least expected of Curle’s men. Trouble is, the length of time it took to get that first goal, the lack of a goal threat for much of the game and the trouble created by a terrible Portsmouth side in actual fact made this more like a defeat than a victory in some ways.

Curle was on a hiding to nothing, and while he got the minimum required, far more questions have to be asked given such a poor performance against arguably the worst team this level has ever seen.

Striker poised to sign?

By Chris, in News,

Various rumours often circulate around the footballing world, at Meadow Lane it's no different for Notts County especially in recent years (I dare not say why). Recent reports have seen us linked with an ex premiership striker who was originally assumed to be Craig Beattie, who failed to impress Keith Curle. It was stated in local media that he wanted to bring in players who could make an impact straight away and concerns regarding Craig’s fitness were raised therefore the experienced striker wasn't offered terms at the football club.

In recent weeks various names have been mentioned but the club, especially the media team who suggest no signings will be made. Many fans also don't expect any additional squad players since Mr Trew openly spoke about clawing back a 70k loss.

This doesn't seem to have made any impact on the rumours which have seen us in recent years linked with a fair few players.

It depends where you read but you will come across at least one rumour surrounding a striker. Ian Henderson has been mentioned across various social streams including the official facebook page for Notts County.

The most popular however surrounds a more experienced player, who is close to the end of his career. The player in question is at the age seemed to be preferred by Keith Curle being mature at the age of 33.

Jason Scotland, who was released by Ipswich Town on the 21 January 2013 after agreeing terms to mutually terminate his contract, is being linked with Notts County in online media.

This story is also gaining momentum on Twitter, which has seen tweets suggest that the player is set to sign with the club shortly.

Jason, unlike previous targets, does show signs that he can be a prime goal scorer, as he had enjoyed a successful period with Swansea City netting 45 goals – in 90 games in 2007 to 2009 seasons. He also has had success at various clubs including St. Johnstone and most recently Ipswich Town where he scored 19 goals – in 87 games having been with the club since 2010 until his release.

Typically a strong forward who plays very well off advanced midfielders, he's known for being in the right place at the right time and has scored a few goals from being a poacher due to good reading of the game.

It is unclear if he has left the club due to his fitness levels although a different class from the earlier names being Beattie and Henderson. He could very well be worth the gamble, as calm composure could be what's missing at Meadow Lane at this point in time.
Joe Jones
Notts County's amazing unbeaten away run came to an end at the Matchroom Stadium as the Pies were beaten 2-1 by Leyton Orient, in a frustrating afternoon which saw goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski carried off on a stretcher. The defeat deprived Notts of a 23rd consecutive unbeaten away game, and handed Keith Curle his first ever away loss. Unchanged from the impressive 1-0 win against Oldham, the Pies looked to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since November, and found themselves under pressure from the start, Lee Cook firing wide from a David Mooney cross.

The first Notts chance fell to Neal Bishop, who, after great work from Jeff Hughes, found his attempt blocked by O's midfielder Lloyd James, JCR not being able to follow it up, while at the other end, the unmarked Mooney sliced it wide after a good Gary Liddle invervention.

Then came the main talking point of the match: as MacDonald came towards the Notts goal, Bialkowski rushed out to make a save, but the Orient forward caught the keeper on the head as he tried to take the ball around him.

Six minutes of treatment and a yellow card for MacDonald later, Bart was taken off on a stretcher, and the highly rated but untested Fabian Speiss came on in his place.

Not long after the restart, some great work by Bish tested the O's defence, first with a low cross which couldn't quite find Showunmi and Arquin, then by winning a corner which saw Hughes' shot blocked and Sheehan fire wide.

Shortly afterwards, Speiss was tested for the first time in the game, a fine reaction save denying Cook, before former Orient player Dean Leacock made a last-ditch tackle to thwart Mooney.

The additional eight minutes of injury time saw the game spring back to life, Andre Boucaud playing a fantastic cross to Yoann Arquin, whose header smashed against the crossbar, before Alan Judge's half volley, again after some inspirational play, went just over.

Speiss made another fine save to deny MacDonald, before the in-form Sheehan delivered another cross at the other end which connected with Showunmi and very nearly made it in.

After the break, Showunmi, oozing confidence after his first league goal against Oldham on Tuesday, headed inches over, connecting with a JCR cross, while Judge's long-range hit forced the Orient keeper into a save.

At the other end, Speiss showed just why he is so highly rated by the Notts hierachy, his full-stretch save denying Martin Rowland's deflected free kick, and blocking Mooney's placed shot with his leg.

Eventually, Orient took the lead, as the Notts defence allowed Cook too much time and space on the ball. His shot was well saved by Speiss but the keeper could do nothing to stop Mooney scoring from the rebound.

It wasn't long before Orient were in the Notts area again after the restart, Mooney's shot being deflected behind for a corner, and more lax defending saw Mathieu Baudry double the lead with a volley. Two goals conceded in the space of three minutes, the County players and fans shell-shocked.

As Romello Nangle came on for Arquin, a lull followed where the match officials swapped positions as a result of the referee's injury, before Notts pulled one back, Showunmi's hard work allowing Jeff Hughes to finish from eight yards. 2-1, twelve minutes to go.

Orient were dominant thereafter and could have scored several but for excellent defensive work by Sheehan and Bishop, and of course, the outstanding Speiss.

But for a chance by Hughes, a glancing header, Notts struggled to pierce the O's defence again, and the match ended 2-1, the home team claiming all three points, Notts' sublime away record in tatters, the team eight points adrift of the play-offs and sweating over Bialkowski's fitness. At least Fabian Speiss proved to be a very capable deputy in between the sticks.
On the back of the first home win since November, Notts County fans will be planning their 134 mile journey to the home of Leyton Orient as our away record could roll on for a full year if we make the next couple of away games without defeat.

This would be great achievement, adding to the fantastic year of celebrating 150 years. It's now more than ever we hope to see a return to consistency as Pride of Nottingham ask Orient fan Lee a series of questions in which we hope to gain further insight to the football club he supports.

Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a fan for?

I've been a supporter for over 25 years now and have a season ticket in the office block (West Stand). Tend to go to about 75% of the away games as well.

How optimistic ahead of the season were you and the majority of the Orient fans?

After last season when we just avoided relegation then I thought things couldn't get much worse, but we started in the same vein before picking up a bit.

In your opening matches your side appeared to struggle with consistency bar the impressive win over Yeovil, how important were the 3 games you won in succession?

The win at Swindon was hard fought and certainly changed the mood amongst the fans. In all honestly we were lucky to beat Brentford and the Yeovil game was the first time we had looked like a football team.

Has the recent weather had any effect on your latest fixtures?

Due to the weather and the cup fixtures we have had we have been playing Sat/Tues every week in January and will do near enough every week in February too. Some of our players look exhausted and could do with a rest.

Are there any games which stand out for you personally this season and could you tell us about the match?

Well I missed some of our better results (4-1 at Carlisle etc) due to being on holiday, but I would say the win at Swindon was very important as it looked like we didn't know how to win at the time.

Russell Slade was caretaker manager of Notts County in 94/95 season but unfortunately for him it didn't work out, what are your thoughts on him as a manager?

Some of our fans go overboard calling him "Super Russ", some go the opposite way saying he is awful. I think "Above Average" would be the term I would use for him. We can range from looking excellent to looking non-league under him.

Has a Leyton Orient supporter could you tell us about your favourite players past and present?

Past - Alan Comfort, Carl Griffiths, Steve Castle. Present - Moses Odubajo, Kevin Lisbie and Lee Cook.

Can you tell our fans a little about your ground, facilities and any nearby pubs etc?

The ground is hemmed in by flats and away fans get to sit in the oldest stand which is also the only one with pillars. You can get in the Supporters Club by paying on the door, or you have the Coach & Horses on Leyton High Road. If you want to venture further afield the Birkbeck Tavern is a fantastic pub.

Please tell Pride of Nottingam who your main threats to Notts County are?

Lee Cook if he is on his game.

Do you have any thoughts on our players on who Orient should be wary of?

Well it will be interesting to see if Leacock will show more interest in playing for you than he did for us, and Campbell-Ryce could cause us problems. I also dislike Colin West with a passion

Are there any local derbies or grudge matches that you look forward to?

We have just had one derby against Brentford, but have the prospect of Southend in the JPT Area final coming up.

As the January transfer window is still open are you hopeful of any further signings?

I think we are pretty much up to the 65% on wages, so if Cook and Rowlands stay I can't see us adding any more players after the signings of Macdonald and Azeez.

We would like to Thank Southgate O (Lee) for taking the time to answer our questions.
Joe Jones
After snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat against Sheffield United the previous Saturday, Notts put in a dominant, lively display to outplay and defeat Oldham Athletic for their first win at Meadow Lane since November, courtesy of Enoch Showunmi's first league goal for the club. Just like the previous weekend, the snow and frosty weather meant the hard work had to begin well before the game, as club staff and supporters helped to clear the snow off the pitch to ensure Notts didn't suffer another postponement.

Once the game was officially on, Notts lined up in the 3-4-1-2 formation used against the Blades, making only one change - Showunmi replacing Francois Zoko, suspended after the weekend's fixture.

The home team dominated from the off, an Alan Sheehan free kick causing problems early on with Showunmi unable to convert with his back to goal, while a Bialkowski kick was helped on by the frontman and saw Jeff Hughes fire straight at Oldham keeper Dean Bouzaris. Then came the first real chance of the game - an Alan Judge free kick which whistled past the top-left corner, Bouzaris stranded.

More chances were to come, Andre Boucaud playing a Xavi-esque pass to the Irish Messi, who rounded the keeper but only fired into the side netting, before Yoann Arquin headed wide and shortly afterwards saw a powerful shot also just miss.

Before long, the pendulum swung Oldham's way, with forward Jose Baxter firing straight at Bialkowski. The away team then saw Matt Smith fire a volley which was denied by skipper Neal Bishop's outstanding block.

Boucaud, now a permanent Notts County player, repaid the faith put in him by the club with another wonderful through-ball straight to JCR, who cut inside and took a shot. The ensuing deflection fell nicely into the path of Showunmi and was tapped in for the opening goal.

Invigorated by taking the lead, the half finished with Notts playing some classy football, stringing passes together and showing moves off to the delight of the home fans, Jeff Hughes nearly making it 2-0 late on in the half.

Oldham, lucky only to be 1-0 down at half time, pressed on, and nearly made Notts pay for their missed chances, Jonathan Grounds missing with his powerful header, before midfielder Chris Sutherland headed towards an empty net, having beaten Bialkowski, only for Gary Liddle to majestically clear it off the goal-line.

The Latics, frustrated by their inability to breach the Notts defence, found themselves getting increasingly physical, and got several late tackles in before the ref decided he'd seen enough and got his card out, booking Grounds and James Welosowski in quick succession.

Notts' chances kept on coming, Showunmi nearly connecting with a JCR cross, before Hughes flashed a header across goal after a Sheehan free kick, Matt Smith preventing the chance from falling to Bishop for what would have been a certain goal.

The Irish Messi then saw his attempt just miss the right-hand upright after a mistake by Wesolowski seventy-eight minutes in, before Showunmi fired just over a minute later.

In the dying stages, Oldham kept pressing, but never really bothered Bialkowski, substitute Robbie Simpson attempting a couple of long-range shots and Jose Baxter not doing much better, before Notts saw out the final five minutes and confirmed the 3 points, much to the delight of the 3,229 home supporters who were finally able to celebrate a win at Meadow Lane since November.

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