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Match Report: Notts County leave it late to overcome Oxford City in FA Cup second round


Joe Jones

Notts County have won a place in the hat for the third round of the FA Cup after a last-ditch 3-2 win over Oxford City in Saturday's second-round clash at Meadow Lane.

The Magpies fielded a full-strength side to face the struggling National League South outfit, who came to Nottingham hoping for another major upset after seeing off Colchester United in round one.

Kevin Nolan made one change from the team which started last weekend's 2-1 win over, incidentally, the U's, with Jon Stead back from a leg injury to take the place of Shola Ameobi, who is nursing a groin injury.

The game began with Notts predictably controlling possession and playing a high-tempo game but they posed little threat as their play was largely sloppy and rushed.

Indeed, the visitors almost nudged themselves ahead as Matt Paterson, who scored the crucial winner for City against the U's, headed just wide of goal under pressure from Richard Duffy.

Oxford were giving a good account of themselves, pressing together as a team and getting men behind the ball when out of possession, with the home fans getting increasingly nervous and frustrated as the game went on.

Notts, however, were always going to create chances and Jon Stead’s acrobatic effort from a Terry Hawkridge cross forced goalkeeper Jack Stevens into a fine save on the half-hour mark.

And the resulting corner led to the deadlock being broken as Carl Dickinson's cross was headed across the face of goal by Shaun Brisley and, with Oxford failing to clear their lines, Duffy bundled home from point-blank range for his second goal of the season.

The second half began with the visitors showing more intent but Notts came close to doubling their tally in the 51st minute when Stead cut in from the left and his effort deflected off Joe Oastler before rebounding off the post.

From the ensuing counter-attack, the non-league side struck an equaliser as Zac McEachran’s cross found Rob Sinclair on the edge of the box, who fired low into the corner of the Notts net.

However, they were not level for long as, just three minutes later, Freddie Grant scythed down Terry Hawkridge in the box to give away a penalty, Stead stepping up and confidently rifling low into the bottom corner.

Notts pushed men forward in search of a killer third but were instead pegged back again on 73 minutes when Zac McEachran sent a low cross the way of Paterson, who curled a neat effort into the top corner beyond Fitzsimons.

With the game seemingly going to a replay, the hosts did not let their heads drop and, in the fourth minute of injury time, substitute Jonathan Forte's header was parried by Stevens into the path of Jorge Grant, who slotted home on the rebound to put Notts in the third round of the competition.

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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest league 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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