Super Grant enough to see-off 10 man Spireites

The result is more important than the performance. Always.

This is something that Magpies boss Kevin Nolan will be in full agreement with as his side toiled to a 2-0 win over 10-man Chesterfield in generally uninspiring fashion.

The central figure was undoubtedly comically-incompetent referee Andy Haines, who should’ve sent off two Chesterfield players (one in each half) but still somehow managed to dish out a completely undeserved red before half time to Spireites defender Scott Wiseman, for an innocuous trip on Terry Hawkridge when the Notts man had no hope of getting to the ball ahead of visiting keeper Joe Anyon.

This was the game’s key moment but the first red/non-red incident had already kick-started it into a life, after a completely lifeless first 30 minutes. Gozie Ugwu reacting to having his legs held by Elliott Hewitt by throwing him to the ground right in-front of the linesman. It was the most blatant of reds, but Haines somehow decided it was only worth a yellow, before obviously realising his mistake and rectifying it in bizarre fashion 15 minutes later.

Notts picked-up considerably after that initial injustice and created a few half-decent openings, the best of which saw the lively Hawkridge denied by a goal-line clearance. There was also a good chance at the other end for Ugwu, but his shot lacked power and was smartly stopped by Adam Collin. Following the actual red card, Notts started the second half very poorly and it took an outstanding block from Richard Duffy to stop the visitors gaining a lead in the first minute of the second half.

After that, tedium took over with the Magpies’ sticking devoutly to their unsuccessful direct approach despite the numerical advantage, until that man Jorge Grant came off the bench and showcased his quality, scoring a looping header out of nothing from Matt Tootle’s cross and curling home a superb free kick in the last minute of stoppage time. Might be worth giving him a start next week?

In-between the goals there was a bad miss from Jon Stead, a good save to deny Hawkridge and an excellent cameo from Jonathan Forte, whose clean run at goal was cynically denied by a trip which was actually meriting of the red card the ref gave to the unfortunate Wiseman.

Overall, not pretty but ultimately comfortable. Job done.

Notts: Collin 6; Tootle 6 (Walker 83), Duffy 7, Brisley 7, Jones 6; Hawkridge 7, Yates 7, Hewitt 6, Alessandra 5 (Grant 53, 8*); Stead 5 (Forte 75, 7), Ameobi 5.

Not Used: Fitzsimons, Hunt, Hollis, Milsom.

Rob Davies


  1. Based on a mean of 5

    Collin 4.5 Well protected but one can never feel assured with his keeping. Completely missed one cross which he should have claimed. Still not alert enough to feed players in space. I feel sorry for Fitzsimons, wasn’t his Tuesday performance deemed not good enough???

    Tootle 5 Not one of his better games but one should also be reassured that he makes very few mistakes defensively

    Duffy 6 Won his headers and led the back line well

    Brisley 5.5 Would be a 6 but gave away a needless free kick in injury time. Coped well with the movement of O’Grady, who was perhaps Chesterfield’s most impressive player

    Jones 4 Wasteful of dead balls, as well as some wayward punts too, just crying out for Bola… need to dream on. Noticed Jones failed to track back on several occasions

    Yates 5 Maybe Scunthorpe game took too much out of him. Not as effective than Tuesday night

    Hewitt 4 Cannot pass nor track back nor tackle. Even moved to Right Back when Nolan says he is not a Right back

    Alessandra 5 Not involved in the game to influence it but did chase

    Hawkridge 7.5 Bundle of energy and his ability to close down in final third, won Notts countless balls. Worthy MotM

    Stead 4.5 Legs, legs, legs…no real sharpness and maybe Forte should have been introduced earlier

    Shola 5.5 Held up ball well but never got service in Chesterfield’s Penalty area


    Grant 7.5 Class, class, class… and that free kick!
    Forte 5 Needed to be introduced earlier
    Walker 4.5

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