Managerless Notts County earn a morale-boosting victory
NOTTS County put the sacking of manager Harry Kewell behind them to squeeze into the knockout stages – while holders Lincoln City also edged through. After Newcastle United
U21s’ 3-2 victory at Grimsby on Tuesday night, County went into their final Northern Group G match against
Doncaster the following night knowing they needed to win by two goals to join the Toon in the last 32.
Striker Kristian Dennis proved to be the star man for Notts, hitting a hat-trick as they ran out 4-2 winners.
The former Chesterfield forward scored with two headers and Enzio Boldewijn also netted as the Magpies raced into a 3-0 half-time lead. Alfie May pulled one back for Doncaster five minutes into the second half, but Dennis then completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot on 63 minutes.
May notched his second with 20 minutes left, but Notts kept their nerve to advance to the next round by the slimmest of margins. Newcastle topped the pile with nine points, while Notts, Doncaster and Grimsby all finished on three. County finished with a goal difference of minus one, while Donny and Grimsby both ended up on minus two.
Lincoln qualified without kicking a ball in midweek. The Imps had already completed their Northern Group H matches, but had to hope
Mansfield, who had already qualified, beat Scunthorpe in the final group game on Tuesday night.
Mansfield raced into a twogoal lead through Nyle Blake (21 mins) and Calum Butcher (53), but Yasin Ben El-Mhanni (73) and Andy Dales (89) levelled things up for the Iron to leave them on the brink of qualification.
However, Timi Elsnik nabbed a 90th-minute winner to ensure Mansfield topped the group with a maximum haul of nine points, while Lincoln pipped Scunthorpe and
Wolves U21s to second place. All three teams finished on three points and with a goal difference of minus one, but the Imps, who beat Shrewsbury in last year’s final, had scored four goals in comparison to three from Scunthorpe and Wolves U21s.
Cambridge put their FA Cup elimination by NonLeague Guiseley behind them with a 3-1 victory against
Colchester to finish top of Southern Group B.
Ade Azeez bagged a double and Emmanuel Osadebe was on target for the U’s, while Harry Pell netted a consolation for Colchester.
Southend joined them in the second round with a 3-0 home win against Southampton U21s on Wednesday night. The Shrimpers notched all their goals in the opening 24 minutes to blitz Saints. Harry Bunn, Harry Kyprianou and Elvis Bwomono struck. In Southern Group G, AFC
Wimbledon had already qualified and it was either going to be Charlton or Swansea U21s who joined them. In a tight affair, Swedish midfielder Adnan Maric’s
fine strike on 54 minutes gave visiting Swansea victory. Indeed, the win allowed the young Swans to leapfrog the Dons into top spot. In Southern Group E, it was a similar scenario. Arsenal U21s had already booked their passage, but Cheltenham and Coventry had the chance to overtake Forest Green.
It was Cheltenham who took advantage, notching a 2-0 home win against the Sky Blues to qualify and edge out Arsenal’s young guns to top spot on goal difference. Jacob Maddox (35) and Will Boyle (47) scored for the Robins. In Southern Group C,
Newport County earned their ticket with a 2-0 home win against Plymouth, who failed to gain a single point. Antoine Semenyo and Mark Harris struck in the final ten minutes of the first half as the Exiles pipped Swindon for second place behind Chelsea U21s on goal difference. The top three all finished on six points.
Exeter and Bristol Rovers had already qualified from Southern Group D at the expense of Yeovil and West
Ham U21s, but they met to decide top spot. Exeter won 2-0 with goals from Jonathan Forte and Joel Randall, the latter with his first senior goal, to leapfrog Rovers. Already-qualified Portsmouth made it a perfect record in Southern Group A with a 3-2 home win against
U21s, who also won through. Andre Green, Gareth Evans and Oli Hawkins netted for Pompey.
Spurs would have been knocked out if Crawley had won at Gillingham in their game, but the Reds went down 2-1. Dominic Poleon (18) gave Crawley the lead, but the Gills hit back through Elliott List (57) and sub Bradley Stevenson (86) to break their duck and climb above Crawley into third place.
Sunderland wrapped up top spot in Northern Group A with a 1-0 victory at Morecambe, Josh Maja netting in stoppage time. Stoke City U21s advanced with the Black Cats thanks
a penalty shoot-out win at
Carlisle. Jack Sowerby gave Carlisle a 23rd-minute lead, but Tyrese Campbell equalised 11 minutes later.
After the game finished 1-1, Stoke won the resulting penalty shoot-out 5-4 to pick up an extra point.
In Northern Group B, Bury beat Fleetwood 3-1 at home to climb above Leicester U21s and join table-topping Rochdale in the second round. Fleetwood took the lead through Kyle Dempsey, but the Shakers hit back courtesy of Dom Telford (pen), Chris Dagnall and Nicky Adams as all the goals came in the first half. Crewe hosted Shrewsbury to decide who would join Manchester City U21s in qualifying from Northern Group D, and it was the Shrews who won through. An own goal from skipper George Ray and an Alex Gilliead effort puts the Shrews in control, though Jordan Bowery did pull one back. The 2-1 victory enabled Shrewsbury to win the group.
Port Vale and Walsall had already qualified from Northern Group D and it was the former who topped the pile with a 2-1 away win. Scott Quigley and sub Danny Pugh were on the mark for Vale, with Connor Johnson replying for Walsall.
Barnsley won Northern Group F thanks to a 2-1 home win against Bradford. George Moncur netted both for the Tykes, who had Adam Jackson sent off for two bookto able offences late on. David Ball had given Bradford an early lead. Macclesfield joined Accrington Stanley in qualifying from Northern Group C with a 2-1 home win against West Brom U21s. Rayhaan Tulloch gave the Baggies the lead, but Macc hit back to take the spoils with efforts from Ben Stephens and Koby Arthur, all the goals coming in the opening 24 minutes.
Accrington still topped the group despite a 3-2 defeat at
Blackpool. Joe Dodoo (two) and Armand Gnanduillet scored for Blackpool, with Connor Hall replying twice for Stanley, once from the spot.
Peterborough bagged runners-up spot in Southern Group H with a 2-1 home win against Luton, who had already sealed first place. Colin Daniel and Ivan Toney netted for Posh, while Matty Pearson replied for the Hatters.
Aaron Connolly hit a hattrick for Brighton U21s in their 3-2 victory at MK Dons, but they were pipped to second place by Peterborough on goal difference. Kieran Agard and Mitch Hancox netted for the Dons. FA CUP OLDHAM Athletic manager Frankie Bunn hailed his side’s resilience after they fought back late on to beat Hampton & Richmond Borough in the first round on Monday night. Chris Dickson’s first half penalty gave the Non-League hosts a firsthalf lead and the Latics squandered a number of chances to get back on terms. However, Rob Hunt fired home a fine equaliser after a rapid counter-attack to level things up on 88 minutes and there was still time for a winner. Callum Lang latched on to Chris O’Grady’s flick-on in the fifth minute of injury time and thumped home the winner. A relieved Bunn, whose side travel to Maidstone in round two, said: “It was a difficult game and we all knew why the cameras were there, but the lads dug deep and got their reward in the end.”
HEAD MASTER: Notts County’s Kristian Dennis scores his second goal against Doncaster and, insets, right, Swansea’s Adnan Maric celebrates his winner against Charlton and, right bottom, action from Cheltenham’s vital victory against Coventry City RELIEF: Callum Lang, left, celebrates scoring the Latics’ last-gasp winner