Late heartbreak for Notts County as Magpies beaten in FA Cup replay

Rochdale’s travelling contingency were sent on their way towards a 90-mile return journey with joyous smiles after Jake Beesley scored in the final minute of regular time to knock Notts County out of the FA Cup.

Notts’ shot-stopper Anthony Patterson had made two brilliant saves just five minutes before but Beesley’s effort proved too much for him and the League Two side progressed into the second round of the FA Cup and an ITV date with Plymouth Argyle on Sunday, December 5.

After an end to end start where Notts had chances and Rochdale had neat passing moves, it was the visitors who took the lead after 15 minutes.

Rochdale striker Josh Andrews found himself unmarked at the back post and after being picked out by a cross from Liam Kelly on the right, he applied the finishing touch with a controlled volley past Patterson.

Just as in the first fixture between the two sides, it was the League Two side who took the lead.

Any buzz left over from Saturday’s victory over Solihull Moors was broken and the challenge of the task at hand dawned on the Magpies.

Their victory over Solihull had seen the hosts break the National League attendance record with a crowd of 12,843 tonights more modest, but still impressive, turnout of 4,460 could only be explained with the opening of Nottingham’s Christmas markets last night.

Ruben Rodrigues reminded the visitors of the threat his side possessed when his curling effort from the edge of the box smashed into the crossbar after 21 minutes.

Corey O’Keefe curled home the opener in the game at the Crown Oil Arena 11 days ago and after half an hour he nearly doubled Rochdale’s advantage. A chipped through ball found it’s way to right-wing back O’Keefe who had made a late surge forward. He lifted the ball over Anthony Patterson in the Notts goal, but his effort rolled wide. The Kop breathed a sigh of relief.

Rochdale ended the first half on the front foot, but it was the Magpies who had a spring in their step at the start of the second, with Wooton heading over a free kick five minutes after the restart. A curling free kick from Rodrigues looked threatening, but didn’t trouble Jay Lynch in the visitors goal.

The hosts missed Sam Slocombe in goal. His replacement Patterson struggled playing the ball out from the back, gifting possession to Rochdale at regular intervals.

Cal Roberts, introduced just before the hour mark, had his impact on the game felt within a matter of minutes. Some smart dribbling by Roberts allowed him to tee up Adam Chicksen who’s cross to the back post could only be turned into the visitors net by Rochdale defender Aidy White.

Meadow Lane was jumping, and the Magpies were driving forward.

Rodrigues and Roberts were causing Rochdale endless problems with their skilful dribbling and probing passing. With 14 minutes to go another darting run by Roberts allowed him space to pull back a cross to the Portuguese man who was denied by a brilliant save by Lynch.

With five minutes left of regular time the tide turned and Notts were forced onto the back foot by the visitors.

Neither side looked particularly keen on extra time in the closing stages with both sending players forward. Beesley’s goal was greeted with rapturous celebrations from the 307 travelling fans who had huddled together in the Jimmy Sirrel stand like penguins protecting themselves from a mean Antarctic gale.

For Notts it is a first loss since October 5, but it was a performance that will please manager Ian Burchnall who watched his side go toe-to-toe with a League Two side in both games.

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