Magpies end Crawley's winning run

Jimmy Spencer highest to score the winner for Notts County

Jimmy Spencer highest to score the winner for Notts County

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Crawley Town were denied a fourth successive win in League One as they went down to Jimmy Spencer’s first half header at Meadow Lane.

Spencer nodded Nott County in front after 33 minutes but the relegation-threatened Magpies were indebted to goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski for what could prove a vital three points.

Bialkowski made one superb save to keep out a header from Gary Dicker in the second half and also denied Matt Tubbs, Dicker and Dannie Bulman as Reds pressed for an equaliser while Haydn Hollis cleared off the line from Jamie Proctor.

The result boosts County’s hopes of staying in League One while Crawley dropped a place to 13th in the table.

Crawley boss John Gregory had to reshuffle his midfield with skipper Josh Simpson and Andy Drury both missing through injury.

Dannie Bulman was also rested so Sergio Torres and Gary Dicker came in with Jamie Proctor also starting alongside Matt Tubbs up front.

Crawley started the game positively against a County side which had won its last three games at Meadow Lane.

Jamie Proctor forced Bartosz Bialkowski into action after just seven minutes when his glancing header from a Gwion Edward’s free kick was comfortably saved by the County goalkeeper.

Edwards also tested Bialkowski’s handling with a bouncing 25 yard shot as Reds dominated the opening exchanges.

The home side slowly came into things and Spencer went close to giving them the leader with a header from Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s cross which flashed just wide.

County threatened again when Gary Dicker gave away possession inside his own half and Jack Grealish drove into the Crawley box. Paul Jones saved well with his feet from Ronan Murray with Callum McGregor wastefully firing the rebound over.

The opening goal did arrive after 33 minutes. Mark Connolly conceded a free kick near the left touchline and Spencer rose above the Crawley defence to head home a superb delivery from Alan Sheehan.

Crawley came agonisingly close to equalising in the 52nd minute when Bialkowski spilled a regulation cross from Edwards. The County goalkeeper made partial amends by saving from Matt Tubbs and was then indebted to Haydn Hollis for blocked Proctor’s follow-up on the line.

Bialkowki then spread himself well to save from Tubbs at the near post before making a stunning one-handed stop to keep out a header from Dicker.

The County goalkeeper also pushed away a 20-yard drive from Dicker while Proctor glanced a header just wide as Crawley cranked up the pressure.

Notts Co (4-4-2): Bialkowsk; Campbell-Ryce, Mullins, Hollis, Sheehan; Thompson, McGregor (Dumbuya, 69), Liddle, Grealish; Spencer, Murray (Tyson, 80). Subs not used: Spiess, Boucaud, Roberts, Dixon, Waite.

Crawley (4-4-2): P Jones; M Connolly, McFadzean, Walsh, Sadler; M Jones, Torres (Monakana, 77), Dicker (Bulman, 77), Edwards; Proctor, Tubbs. Subs not used: Maddison, Essam, Fallon.

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