CHECK­A­TRADE TRO­PHY

Man­ager­less Notts County earn a morale-boost­ing vic­tory

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By John Lyons

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.

Dou­ble

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.

Ticket

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

Tot­ten­ham

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.

Equaliser

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.”

PIC­TURE: PA Im­ages

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

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