Notts Leave It Late For Huge Win

Grimsby Town 0-1 Notts County (National League) 30.10.21

Ruben Rodrigues’ injury time winner left an away end containing over one thousand Notts County fans erupted, as the Magpies defeated Grimsby Town at Blundell Park.

Both sets of players were greeted by an unbelievable atmosphere following their entry to the field. It was at this point you sensed that this occasion was going to be nothing short of special.

The first goal-bound opportunity fell to the hosts. A dangerous free kick on the edge of the Notts County penalty area was set up for a strike by Alex Hunt. The midfielder lifted his effort up and over a wall made up of three defending bodies, but wide of Anthony Patterson’s near post. The failed attempt was conversion was sarcastically cheered by travelling Notts County faithful.

Ten minutes beyond the free-kick, Grimsby Town saw an attempt cannon off the crossbar. A swift move towards the visitors’ goal resulted in the ball coming in from the left and into the feet of Lenell John-Lewis. The forward weaved his way around a trailing leg of a Notts County defender and struck a looping, curled effort towards goal. The shot left shot-stopper Anthony Patterson well-beaten yet he had his crossbar to thank, as the ball cannoned off it and behind for a goal kick. A goalkeeper’s best friend, they claim, and, in this case, they are not wrong. 

On the stroke of half-time, the Mariners looked as if they were set to find their opener. A moment of panic across the Magpies’ backline saw a dead ball failed to be cleared to safety. As a result of this, Grimsby Town retrieved the ball and lofted a high cross above all in green shirts and was met at the back post by Lenell John-Lewis. The striker, who’d previously hit the crossbar earlier in the first half, sent a fierce volley towards Anthony Patterson’s front post. However, the ball was met halfway by the face of a diving Dion Kelly-Evans, who defied bravery by launching himself at the powerful strike. Due to the full-back’s heroics, the Magpies managed to get into the break still on level terms.

It was felt an attacking change was needed to poise more threat in the second half from Notts County. This feeling was evidently mutual with manager Ian Burchnall, who introduced Aaron Nemane and Cal Roberts prior to the referee’s whistle being sounded.

In the sixtieth minute, one of the substitutions nearly paid off. A lapse in concentration deep into their own half saw the Mariners concede possession in a dangerous area. It was Cal Roberts who capitalised on a loose ball and went on to round a Town defender before he sent an effort goal-bound from the edge of the box. The strike was well hit but only stung the palms of James McKeown, as the goalkeeper parried the ball to safety. An undoubted more threatening approach made by the Magpies at the beginning of the second period.

The home side were next to have an attempt on goal. The forever threatening Erico Sousa’s progressive dart towards the Notts County penalty area saw acres of space open for the Portuguese midfielder. Utilising the opening created for himself, the midfielder bent a curled effort towards goal. Although the attempt looked as if it was set to trouble Anthony Patterson, the strike was gratefully met by a head of a Notts County defender, which deflected the ball wide for a corner. The Mariners failed to create anything from the resulting corner and as a result of this, the threat upon the visitors’ goal fizzled out.

The game entered injury time, and it was suspected that a late winner was pending. In the ninety-first minute, Notts County took the lead. A high press from the Magpies saw the Town midfield crumble under pressure. After winning the ball back high up, a pass was played into the feet of forward Kyle Wootton, who held off a wrestling Grimsby defender before he released Matty Palmer down the right. The midfielder’s cross was rashly dealt with by James McKeown, who’s fists sent the ball into the direct of Ruben Rodrigues. As the ball dropped, it was met by the left foot of Notts’ dangerman on the full volley, a full volley that sent the ball beyond a diving James McKeown and into the back of the net. This caused pandemonium behind the goal, as over one thousand Notts County supporters were sent into ruptures following their side’s late winner at Blundell Park, courtesy of the hugely popular and reliable Ruben Rodrigues.

A goal which was considered a smash and grab by boss Ian Burchnall was enough to hand the visitors all three points, as the referee blew the final whistle, a sound celebrated just like a goal by the Notts faithful.

The game finished Grimsby Town 0-1 Notts County.

So, what is next for both sides?

For Grimsby Town, an away trip to Kidderminster Harriers awaits the Mariners in the Emirates FA Cup first round. An occasion that will be highly regarded by the supporters of Kidderminster Harriers will bound to be met with a good atmosphere, one too good for their current level you could say. With Grimsby Town losing their past two games to Wealdstone and Notts County, is an unlikely Emirates FA Cup upset on the cards or will the Mariners’ quality prove too much to handle in this one?

As for Notts County, a trip to Sky Bet League Two outfit Rochdale AFC awaits the Magpies in the Emirates FA Cup first round. Ian Burchnall’s side are now currently unbeaten in six games, picking up some impressive victories over Stockport County and Grimsby Town along the way. However, Rochdale AFC are unbeaten in four themselves and yesterday defeated Barrow AFC away from home, courtesy of a brace from Jake Beesley. Being away from home once again, the Magpies will undoubtedly be met in Greater Manchester by another strong away following. Could this be a catalyst in Notts County defeating opposition from a league above, seeing them into the hat for the second-round draw?

Before concluding, it was worth honourably mentioning the ground management following an incident in the first half. It appeared that a Notts player was targeted by some form of abuse by a supporter in the home stand facing the dugouts. The information following the incident seemed to have been passed through both club captains before the referee sprinting across field to make both managers aware of the matter as well. The supporter, who was culprit of dishing out the majorly unnecessary abuse was removed from the ground and was unallowed to finish spectating the game. Following up from this, the stadium announcer read a message stating that Grimsby Town Football Club doesn’t accept discrimination towards any supporter or player, and any found discriminating will be punished. Regardless of what was said, there is quite simply no room for incidents like this in the game. There never has been and there simply never will be. Quite a poor sight very professionally dealt with during the first half at Blundell Park yesterday.

Grimsby Town:  McKeown, Crookes, Waterfall, Sears (Revan 36), Hunt, Fox, Sousa, Coke (Bapaga 90), Clifton, Towler, John-Lewis (Taylor 76). 

Notts County: Patterson, Taylor, Cameron, Rawlinson, Brindley, Kelly-Evans (Nemane 45), O’Brien (Roberts 45), Palmer, Vincent (Francis 78), Rodrigues, Wootton. 

Venue: Blundell Park (7213

*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).

*Main image @edwardfrancis38 the Notts players celebrate a dramatic winner at Blundell Park.

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