Notts County 1-0 Dover Athletic (National League) 02.05.22
Notts County are all but in the playoffs having beaten bottom of the table Dover Athletic by a single goal at Meadow Lane this afternoon, with only Dagenham & Redbridge able to catch the Magpies from those outside the zone of the National League promotion race. It now looks certain Ian Burchnall’s side will be in the top seven after they play their remaining two games of the regular campaign.
After an early opportunity on nine minutes when Eli Sam’s low cross evaded the onrushing Rodrigues and Wootton, it was the Notts County Portuguese playmaker Ruben Rodrigues that netted the only goal of the game and a twentieth of the season for him, neat play by O’Brien who played in Rodrigues to confidently turn home on eighteen.
Further chances to increase their lead in the first half went begging for Notts as Sam skied over and O’Brien did the same after Palmer’s pull back, Rodrigues then struck straight at the goalkeeper before Wootton headed over and Arter curled straight into Andre’s arms three minutes before the break.
The second half included even more chances for the home side as Rodrigues shot was deflected wide from a Palmer corner on 55 before a minute later, the resulting set piece found Eli Sam who’s header was unable to find the target.
Notts brought on Callum Roberts for Harry Arter and the former Newcastle United winger sent through Jayden Richardson who’s shot from a tight angle was saved and put out for another corner.
Roberts then crossed in to Lacey who’s outstretched boot couldn’t connect with the low delivery.
On 69 minutes, O’Brien struck from distance with the Dover goalkeeper doing well to push wide of the posts before Wootton had the ball in the back of the net following a goalmouth scramble, the striker adjudged to have scored from an offside position.
With ten minutes remaining a header inside the Notts County area had Sam Slocombe saving instinctively to keep his side ahead, Sam then had a shot blocked and Roberts fired wide another opportunity for the home side.
Later on, Andre Jnr saved well again, this time from Rodrigues who’s bouncing effort was tipped onto the bar and away for another corner, Roberts then shot wide from a tight angle after a typically mazy dribble and Francis flashed an effort wide in injury time.
Enough chances to perhaps win two games but in the end the three points that matters, Notts next play Altrincham at home on Saturday before finishing the season at Maidenhead, a point from either game will be enough to ensure the Magpies status in the playoffs.
Notts County: Slocombe, Taylor, Lacey, Rawlinson, Richardson, Arter (Roberts 64), Palmer, O’Brien (Francis 77), Rodrigues, Sam, Wootton.
Dover Athletic: Andre, Baptiste (Agbebi 84), Collinge, Wilkinson (Nelson 73), Ransom, Byford, Gyasi (Nikaj 86), Hanson, Byford, Krasniqi, Woods.
Venue: Meadow Lane
*Main image @Official_NCFC Ruben Rodrigues netted his twentieth goal of the season.