Newly relegated Northampton Town had travelled to Meadow Lane with a caretaker manager after the week's events but the line-up question most County fans were asking was whether Sol Campbell would be up for selection.
Ian McParland's squad list did not include the 73 times capped England defender, but with the September sun beaming the home crowd were lively. Kasper Schmeichel had an early start in the game when a break from Northampton forced him to the ground on the edge of the box and then immediately after requiring a big clearance from just outside.
Gilligan's long throw escaped the County defence and Schmeichel's touch was not enough to put it safe, Alex Dyer secured an early lead for the Cobblers on ten minutes.
Davies again playing well down the right hand side, but Thompson was deemed by the ref to have dived, stopping a good set of play and unfortunately earning him the skipper an early yellow. Ritchie had a lovely flick onto Johnnie Jackson who put Karl Hawley in possession right where he scored his great chip from last week. The Northampton defence was quick to close down the forward and while attempting to win back the ball, a heavy challenge from Hawley resulted in another yellow from the referee.
Fresh from his international duties; Brendan Moloney put in a great ball to newly loaned Matt Ritchie and within the six yard box Ritchie needed no more opportunity to put County level.
Davies freekick twenty five minutes in - awarded after good work by Moloney was brought to an early close, saw the first corner of the match. Dangerous ball in but put over the bar with pressure from the defence.
The second corner followed shortly after from Hughes' cleared header, Northampton having to be quick to clear out the ball in - County had lifted their performance. Just the other side of the half hour mark another attack by the Magpies saw the cross-in narrowly miss Ritchie and Hughes running in.
Jackson was next to feed in and this time found Lee Hughes rising high, Hughes just scraped it over the bar, Notts had had a solid period on top. Ritchie then had another attempt, screaming one from some way out with his left but just off target.
Just as the half closed out, John Curtis gave away a freekick and was added to the book. Ritchie ran over the ball for Davies to pick out Lee Hughes with acres of space. Hughes doesn't need encouragement six yards out and Simon Brown had no option but to watch him slot home.
County attacked until the whistle and walked in a goal up.
Action early on in the second half, with Hughes' claim for a penalty (which looked possible) denied. Bishop put through Hawley for a good strike from distance. Inches over the bar and out into the Haydn Green stand.
Minutes later Matt Ritchie cleverly flicked in from the left hand side but even the rising frame of Lee Hughes just couldn't quite reach. Another good County attack and seven minutes into the half a corner; Davies putting Jackson on but Northampton quick to shut out the danger.
Northampton moved to quell the County attack as Billy McKay made way for Adebayo Akinfenwa. Captain John Thompson required attention as 60 minutes approached, but thankfully was able to return to the game.
The partnership between Karl Hawley and Lee Hughes worked again and a third goal earned for County. Karl making space in the box, raising the ball over the defence and finding the now feared head of Hughes. Domination of the game by County and Matt Ritchie hammered home a second for him and a fourth for the team. Struck from twenty five yards it was not going to be stopped.
Another change for Northampton (Threlfall for Marshall) couldn't stop Hughes on the attack and another corner given, only ending as keeper Brown was leant on in the scramble for a fifth.
Relentless attack from County and on 75 minutes Hawley was brought down in the box. Chris McCready was given his marching orders and Lee Hughes stepped up. 5-1 and a second hatrick for Hughes who left the field to a standing ovation; making way for Rodgers.
Delroy Facey looked to have claimed a sixth but the referee deemed that he'd used his hand and gave a yellow. Straight after - with ten minutes left in the game, double goal scorer Ritchie changed for Craig Westcarr.
Subs Luke Rodgers and Delroy Facey were both keen to make an impact, Facey coming close again and Rodgers turned well on the ball, setting up another ball in from Clapham. Craig Westcarr joined in shortly after, also putting a good cross into the box.
Northampton looked to be out of the game completely, but County again conceded another late goal - this time dealt by Andrew Holt as the game drew to a close.
A great result for County, moving up to 5th in the league.
Full Time: Notts County FC 5-2 Northampton FC
Notts County: Schmeichel, Moloney, Ritchie (Westcarr 81), Edwards, Thompson (C), Hughes (Rodgers 77), Bishop, Davies, Hawley (Facey 77), Clapham, Jackson
Subs Not Used: Hoult, Hamshaw, Ravenhill, Hunt,
Booked: Thompson (13), Hawley (16), Facey (80)
Sent Off: None
Goals: Ritchie (23), Hughes (44), Hughes (61), Ritchie (65), Hughes (75)
Northampton Town: Brown, Beckwith, Marshall (Threlfall 66), Guinan (Hinton 66), Holt (C), Gilligan, Dyer, McKay (Akinfenwa 53), Curtis, McCready, Boden
Subs Not Used: Dunn, Guttridge, Osman, Mulligan,
Booked: Curtis (43)
Sent Off: McCready (75)
Goals: Dyer (11), Holt (89)
Match Referee: Mr M Oliver Attendance: 7154