Notts County come from behind to beat Belper Town in FA Cup


Notts County had to come from behind to beat Belper Town 2-1 in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round at Meadow Lane.

The Nailers took the lead against the run of play when Danny Gordon’s thunderbolt effort sent the 1,718 travelling supporters wild.

Enzio Boldewijn restored parity with a mazy run before curling a left-footed shot into the bottom left corner before Kyle Wootton scored the winning goal with 13 minutes left.

Belper Town came close with a late surge of chances but the Nailers were unable to draw level and exited the competition with a spirited performance.

The opening stages saw both sides struggle to get a foothold with chances coming at a premium.

Belper were perpetrators of the first chance of the game when a long throw-in found Nathan Curtis on the edge-of-the-box; he was quickly closed down by County defenders and had a shot deflected away for a corner.

Regan Booty’s excellently placed looping through-ball met the run of Kristan Dennis inside the penalty area.

The attacker could only muster a weak header which was held by Ryan Musslewhite.

County came marginally close to taking the lead on eleven minutes but the crossbar denied the Magpies.

Sean Shields somehow held onto the ball inside the box when under pressure from three players, he twisted and turned before laying the ball to Kyle Wootton who struck the crossbar.

And the hosts were soon made to pay for their missed chance on 11 minutes.

Connell Rawlinson struggled to clear a deep cross into the left-flank; the Belper winger took advantage by drilling a low shot into the box and, when the hosts failed to clear their lines properly, Gordon sent a sweetly struck effort into the top-right corner well beyond Sam Slocombe’s reach.

County were behind but continued to fight knowing time was on their side.

Booty’s deflected shot fell to Dennis on the six-yard box and was bundled home, but the assistant referee’s flag was raised for offside.

Dennis then combined with Booty and Wootton before forcing a chance with his well-struck shot hitting the up-right.

But County were rewarded for their efforts moments later.

Boldewijn darted forwards on the corner of the penalty box, produced a series of step-overs to beat his marker before then dispatching a left-footed effort into the far corner to level terms on 30 minutes.

Referee Martin Woods was almost forced into making a game-changing decision when Robson collided with Michael Doyle.

The two sets of players clashed just past the half-way line but Robson escaped with only a caution – much to the disappointment of the home supporters.

County could have entered the break ahead but a great reactionary save from Musslewhite denied Dennis at point-blank range.

Martin Woods and his officiating team headed into the interval to a chorus of boos as the vociferous County support felt hard-done-by as they waved away appeals for a penalty against Riece Bertram.

In a similar style to the first half, chances came far and few between in the opening stages of the second half.

The home side were dominating but Belper’s defence stood firm and continued to limit the National League outfit to very few chances.

Sean Shields had a low cross bundled away to safety and it seemed as though it was not going to be County’s day in-front of goal.

The Magpies had the ball in the back of the net for the third time when Wootton bundled home Turner’s header down; however, referee Woods penalised the hosts for a foul on visiting goalkeeper Musslewhite.

And the visiting ‘keeper was worthy of praise as he produced a series of saves to deny Dennis twice from close-range.

First, the shot-stopper kept out the attacker’s header before pushing the rebound to safety as Dennis seemed destined to score.

But the hosts did not have to wait much longer to score as Wootton diverted Booty’s threaded pass beyond Musslewhite with a calm first-time effort with 13 minutes left on the clock.

The home side almost had a third goal when Booty delivered a low cross into the six-yard box, but Dennis was unable to convert at the near post.

Belper came close to grabbing a dramatic late leveller when the ball bobbled around the County box with a number of the Nailers trying to get a shot away.

However, it was not to be Belper Town’s day as Notts County’s experience proved vital as the Magpies held on to secure their passage into Monday’s draw for the First Round Proper and deny the Nailers a moment of history.

Notts County: Slocombe, McCrory, Turner, Doyle (C), Dennis (Tyson 83), Boldewijn, Rawlinson, Wootton, Booty, Kelly-Evans, Shields (Thomas 83).

Unused Subs: Fitzsimons, Rose, Bakayogo, Brindley, Osborne.

Belper Town: Musslewhite, Bryant, Clark, Bertram, South (C), Watt, Robson (Waldram 75), Ridley (Wright 65), Peterson, Gordon, Curtis.

Unused Subs: Pugh, Milner, Kozluk, Dawes, Thompson.

Attendance: 5,729 (1,718 away)


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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