Saturday 17 August 2019

Longest unbroken stay in Football League ends with Notts County's relegation after 131 years

Notts County fans after their teams defeat to Swindon Town results in relegation after the Sky Bet League Two match. Photo credit: Julian Herbert/PA Wire.
Notts County fans after their teams defeat to Swindon Town results in relegation after the Sky Bet League Two match. Photo credit: Julian Herbert/PA Wire.

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Notts County's 131-year stay in the Football League came to an end after they were beaten 3-1 at Swindon.

Goals from Kaiyne Woolery and a brace from Theo Robinson helped Swindon come from behind to end County's hopes of a last-day relegation escape.

County needed to win and hope rivals Macclesfield lost to Cambridge to stand any chance of staying up.

Kane Hemmings gave 2,248 travelling County fans hope in the 53rd minute when he slammed home a penalty after Craig Mackail-Smith had been fouled in the area by Tom Broadbent.

Woolery equalised by slotting past Ryan Schofield in the 69th minute after the former County loanee surged run into the box.

As County frantically pushed men forward they were punished on the counter attack on two occasions.

Robinson found time and space inside the area and lashed his effort into the top left-hand corner and County's demise was confirmed when the striker scored his second from close range in stoppage time.

Sol Campbell's Macclesfield survive in their place.

Neal Ardley's team had to win at the County Ground to stand any chance of avoiding the drop as they went into the final day of the season in 23rd place in League Two, two points behind the Silkmen with an inferior goal difference of eight.

Relegation means Notts County, who have won only nine league matches all season, lose their proud status as the oldest Football League club, having been formed in 1862.

That mantle now passes across the River Trent to Nottingham Forest, who were founded in 1865. Some claim it is Stoke but even the club's own website admits "many details remain sketchy" about their formation, purported to be in 1863.

Ardley has already gone on record as saying he would like to remain in charge. He became the club's third manager of the season when he replaced Harry Kewell in November.

His future is likely to be subject to the club's potential new owners, with takeover talks ongoing at Meadow Lane. A consortium from South Africa is reported to be close to finalising a deal with current owner Alan Hardy.

PA Media

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