By Michael Callander
Notts County made it two consecutive wins with a 1 – 0 victory over Weymouth in the Vanarama National League on Saturday.
Elisha Sam’s effort from distance early in the second half delivered the three points for Notts, justifying Neal Ardley’s decision to bring him into the side for Inih Effiong.
Neal Ardley named Ruben Rodrigues in the starting line-up again, the Portuguese midfielder having set up Kyle Wootton’s second in their 2 – 0 win over Solihull Moors last Wednesday.
Ben Turner came back onto the bench after a three-game suspension which has seen him miss far longer than he would have expected, as Notts saw several games postponed over Christmas.
It was an even first half in Dorset, on a pitch which didn’t look like it suited how Notts have looked to play under Neal Ardley.
They nearly went ahead just after the half-hour mark though, as Enzio Boldewijn drove inside looking to shoot. He laid it off to Dion Kelly-Evans who took it back outside, before standing a cross up to the back post, but Kyle Wootton couldn’t get over his header and fired it straight at Ethan Ross in the Terras’ goal.
Sam Slocombe had to tap an Andy Dallas curling effort over the bar for a Weymouth corner on 38 minutes, a shot which looked for a moment like it might drop in over him.
Weymouth had the first chances of the second half, breaking after a poor Jake Reeves ball into their box and seeing Josh McQuoid’s cross deflect off Rawlinson for a corner.
McCarthy had another chance just two minutes later but leant back on it, putting it into the stand.
Notts took the lead on 52 minutes after a rapid counter-attack found Elisha Sam, whose cross-cum-shot dropped in at Ethan Ross’ far post to give Neal Ardley’s side the lead.
Weymouth started to respond just before the hour and McCarthy nearly capped off a lovely flowing move for the hosts after some great one-touch passes, but Sam Slocombe scrambled across his goal to get behind it.
Slocombe then stopped another McCarthy shot through a crowd of players and claimed a looping header within a couple of minutes, while Rodrigues fired straight at Ethan Ross at the other end within ten minutes as the game started to stretch.
The hosts put a couple of dangerous deliveries into the Notts box from corners and open play, but Kelly-Evans and Rawlinson were on hand to clear.
FULL-TIME: WEYMOUTH 0 – 1 NOTTS COUNTY
Notts County host Bromley in the Vanarama National League on Tuesday 2 February. The Magpies won this fixture last season 2 – 1 through goals from Connell Rawlinson and the recently-departed Wes Thomas.
They lost the reverse fixture by the same scoreline despite Kyle Wootton scoring one of his 18 last season.
Notts starting XI: Slocombe, Kelly-Evans, Rawlinson, Lacey, Miller, Reeves, Doyle, Boldewijn, Rodrigues (Effiong 75’), Sam (O’Brien 75’), Wootton.
Unused subs: Turner, Wolfe, Knowles
Goals: Sam 52’.