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GOOD FEAT FOR ABIG MAN; Echoes of 2014-15 exploits as Stead getsback on FA Cup goal trail.

Byline: HECTOR NUNNS

BRENTFORD 0

NOTTS COUNTY 1

Stead 65

JON STEAD is on the FA Cup goal trail again - and that should strike fear into some of the big guns in tonight's fourth-round draw.

The veteran marksman scored one of the best goals of his 16-year career for League Two Notts County to see off Championship side Brentford.

He has now scored in the first three rounds - with echoes of his astonishing run with Bradford in 2014-15 when they knocked out Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The former Blackburn, Sunderland and Sheffield United striker notched in the first five rounds that year, including a cracker past Petr Cech.

But he admitted his 65th-minute leftfoot curler at Griffin Park may have eclipsed even that effort. Stead, 34, said: "After scoring in round two I began to think of the Bradford run three years ago. Then, I scored a few including that win at Chelsea. And so I fancied myself to get another one against Brentford - and that's the first three rounds now.

"I probably need to take that form into the league as we try to achieve promotion. Goals there have been harder to come by!

"But this win is right up there with that one for Bradford at Stamford Bridge. Brentford are very good at home and full of young, exciting, quick players I wasn't looking forward to keeping up with.

"It was a good goal I got against Chelsea back in 2015 . . but maybe this edged it, also being the winner and I was delighted with it.

"In the early part of my Notts career I cut in a lot like that and got goals and forced saves with shots like that.

"This season and the back end of last season I have been spooning a lot over the bar, so it was fantastic to get one right on a big stage.

"The left foot shot, or swing if you like, has served me well over the years but just not recently and I was buzzing when it went in."

It was a great day for County's busy goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons and Magpies boss Kevin Nolan - but also for Bees playmaker Alan Judge despite the shock defeat.

The 29-year-old Ireland international came off the bench for his first action in 637 days after a horrific double leg break.

That injury, sustained in a challenge by Luke Hyam, cost Judge any chance of a trip to Euro 2016 and a move to the Premier League.

And after being given a huge ovation following his introduction off the bench on 70 minutes he said: "It was emotional getting back on, of course it was.

"But to be honest I didn't take it in as much as I might have because of the match situation, and the fact we were losing. So you just want to get on with it, but I was very happy to get the call from the gaffer and be back on the pitch.

"Maybe you can't call it a celebration after the result, but I certainly plan to have a bit of dinner with my family after the match.

"And maybe then and over the weekend it will all have sunk in a bit more and I can appreciate the moment for what it was.

"I got that 20 minutes under my belt and the confidence I can be playing for this team again. And I will look forward to hopefully getting on against Bolton in the Championship next week."

BRENTFORD: Daniels 6, Clarke 6, Mepham 5, Barbet 5, Chatzitheodoridis 5 (Canos 77), McEachran 6, Mokotjo 6 (Watkins 63, 6), Jozefzoon 6, Marcondes 6, Macleod 6 (Judge 70, 6), Maupay 6.

NOTTS COUNTY: Fitzsimons 8, Tootle 6, Brisley 7, Duffy 7, Jones 6, Hawkridge 6 (Noble 74, 6), Yates 7, Hewitt 7, Grant 7 (Walker 90), Stead 7 (Smith 81), Alessandra 6.

MOTM ROSS FITZSIMONS (NOTTS COUNTY)

2014-15 (for Bradford) 1st rnd: Halifax 1 Bradford 2 (1) 2nd rnd: Bradford 4 Dartford 1 (1) 3rd rnd: Bradford 4 Millwall 0 (1) 4th rnd: Chelsea 2 Bradford 4 (1) 5th rnd: Bradford 2 Sunderland 0 (1) 2017-18 (for Notts County) 1st rnd: Notts County 4 Bristol Rovers 2 (1 ) 2nd rnd: Notts County 3 Oxford City 2 (1) 3rd Round: Brentford 0 Notts County 1 (1) HIS FA CUP GOALS g in REF: Tim Robinson ATT: 6,935 53% POSSESSION 47% 8 SHOTS ON TARGET 25 SHOTS OFF TARGET 5 14 CORNERS 2 1 OFFSIDE 3 6 FOULS 7 MATCH STATS 00 CARDS 04
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 8, 2018
Words:756
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