Striker ties County up in Notts

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By John Brind­ley

NOTTS County’s win­ning run came to a shud­der­ing halt in a dis­as­trous 16-minute spell at noisy neigh­bours Mans­field.

Two-goal Danny Rose was the name on the lips of joy­ous Stags fans, while Notts skip­per Richard Duffy gifted the striker his first and put through his own net.

Vic­tory lifted Mans­field’s own pro­mo­tion hopes against a team man­ager Steve Evans is con­vinced are the bench­mark for his men.

“We made a good team not look a good team for pe­ri­ods in the sec­ond half,” he said. “But Notts County will be up there in the ti­tle chase.

“They were up against the best team they have faced so far this sea­son – as in­di­vid­u­als if you look down our team sheet. As a group we are still gelling.

“I was dis­ap­pointed not to be ahead at half-time, both Kane (Hem­mings) and Danny (Rose) should have scored.

“They say Calum Butcher and Will Atkin­son can’t play to­gether but they’ve bossed the mid­field from start to fin­ish.

“I had no qualms about play­ing Paul An­der­son at right-back – he’s played there in a Cham­pi­onship play-off semi-fi­nal for Mick McCarthy (for Ip­swich), so he can play there in League Two for Steve Evans.”

County’s col­lapse was sur­pris-

ing although they were forced onto the back foot in the first half after Jorge Grant had caused Mans­field prob­lems in an en­ter­pris­ing open­ing ten min­utes.

Adam Collin re­acted smartly in the 20th minute to tip over Alex Mac­Don­ald’s free-kick be­fore Kane Hem­mings scuffed his lines with a wild vol­ley.

A minute’s ap­plause in mem­ory of pop­u­lar for­mer Stags physio Matt Salmon, who passed away from lung can­cer in May, co­in­cided with Mans­field buzzing around the Notts goal but un­able to find an open­ing. Terry Hawkridge shot over un­der pres­sure in the 41st minute after more pacey work by Grant but Notts trailed soon after the break. Duffy’s back header was tame and short and the alert Rose lifted the ball calmly over the ad­vanc­ing Collin and into the net. Sub­sti­tute Omari Ster­ling-James then capped his fine con­tri­bu­tion by pro­duc­ing an ex­cel­lent cross. Hem­mings saw his close-range header tipped onto the post by Collin only for Rose to tap home. Rose was heav­ily in­volved in the third goal too as his right-wing cross was scuffed into his own net by the un­for­tu­nate Duffy.

The dis­as­trous spell sent Notts slid­ing alarm­ingly quickly to­wards their first league de­feat since the open­ing day of the sea­son at Coven­try.

Notts boss Kevin Nolan quickly made a triple sub­sti­tu­tion but the points were well and truly lost.

Mac­Don­ald nar­rowly missed out on a de­served goal after more good work by Rose be­fore full-back Carl Dick­in­son curled in a 20-yard free­kick for Notts in in­jury-time. Shaun Bris­ley hit the bar with al­most the last kick but there was no deny­ing Mans­field.

Mag­pies boss Nolan said: “They were the bet­ter side from start to fin­ish.

“We didn’t get go­ing at all and got away from the things we are good at.

“Mans­field hit it high and long and we didn’t deal with it as well as we have in pre­vi­ous games.

“They were a bit sharper and buoyed by a crowd that wanted to see them beat the top-of-the-table side.

“There was a bit of tired­ness. I’m un­happy with the fix­ture list that took us to Ex­eter in mid­week and sees us at Swindon and More­cambe in weeks to come. Some clubs haven’t got the re­sources to cope with that.”

HELD IN CHECK: Mans­field’s David Mirfin, right, chal­lenges Jon Stead for the ball in the air

PIC­TURES: Dan West­well

DOU­BLING UP: Danny Rose cel­e­brates his goal that put Mans­field two goals ahead

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