North Notts beaten by leaders Loughborough

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North Notts delivered a lacklustre performance as they were beaten 7-3 by league leaders Loughborough.

After the game manager Jay Faulkner said: ”Today we have to congratulate Loughborough on a clinical display that left us chasing shadows and we really have to thank our keeper who made several stunning saves.

“The title is really theirs to lose now and we wish them well as they are by far the best team in the league this season.

“We must focus for next week’s game at Leicester and look to avenge the 3-1 defeat we suffered at home.”

The early pressure came from the away side and Notts were on the back foot from the off.

Notts then took the lead on six minutes after a quick flowing break involving both Nathan Smith and Allen Butler, which was finished by William Butler.

Loughborough then showed why they are top of the table with a period of sustained pressure in the Notts half.

And they found the equaliser when a dramatic turn of pace from Loughborough’s Mike White, so often the scourge of North Notts, left Kanalas standing and managed to turn the ball into the Notts goal.

Five Minutes later Loughborough made it 2-1 with a slick finish.

On 20 minutes Loughborough were awarded a penalty stroke after a deliberate foot on the line.

The Loughborough forward confidently stepped up only to be denied by a brilliant save from Unwin diving to his right.

Loughborough did however add a third on 28 minutes after they caught Notts on the break after Allen Butler had, seconds earlier, fired the ball wide.

Notts, however, were not giving up and continued to press hard. On 27 minutes a strike from Smith was well saved by the Loughborough keeper and William Butler fired the rebound wide.

A minute later another Notts defensive lapse saw Loughborough increase the lead again to 4-1.

The end to end action continued as a minute later Notts drove into the Loughborough “D” and found William Butler, who added his second of the day with a crisp strike into the bottom corner.

Notts continued to press in the dying minutes of the half and chances from Allen Butler and William Butler could have tied the game up, but both chances failed to find the net.

Notts came out for the second half in a more determined mood and the determination showed in some of the robust tackling and Singleton was dismissed on 40 minutes for a stick tackle that broke down an attacking Loughborough move.

Notts re-jigged their formation and coped admirably whilst down to 10 men as Loughborough had the majority of the pressure.

The killer blow for Notts came on 57 minutes when a Notts defender was unable to stop a break through the middle leaving Loughborough with an easy finish for 5-2..

Visibly deflated now, Notts changed the formation in the hope of a quick reply only to find Loughborough in a clinical mood and, three minutes later, they added a sixth on the break away.

Notts only reply was in the form of a short corner strike from Allen Butler that flew into the bottom corner.

Again Loughborough would not lie down and in the dying seconds ripped Notts apart to add a seventh.