A solitary Ben Davies strike against his old club edged Notts County closer to league leaders Rochdale in a 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town.
The midfielder found the corner of the net to round off a smart team move in the 36th minute. It proved to be a reward for another committed performance that sent 1,258 travelling supporters home with beaming smiles on their faces.
An unchanged team stepped out onto the pitch, eager to stretch their 10 game unbeaten streak further and build upon the 5-0 triumph over Bury on Saturday. With table toppers Rochdale taking on third place Bournemouth, it looked an ideal opportunity for Notts to strengthen their title hopes or at least move one step closer to securing promotion.
A blustery wind was blowing across the pitch, which appeared add movement to Jake Simpson's early volley. Connecting cleanly and forcefully with a clearance, he forced Kasper Schmeichel to scurry quickly to his right in order to thump over his crossbar.
It took the Magpies 20 minutes to create a chance of note and this came as a result of former Shrew Davies. His crisp delivery was met by the head of Lee Hughes but his commanding effort was acrobatically turned away by David Button in the home goal.
Hughes made space for another promising attempt less than a minute later, beating the offside trap to collect a long Jamie Clapham pass. Wrong footing his retreating marker, he opened up his body to fire narrowly wide of the bottom corner.
A third chance presented itself to Hughes as Notts began to get on top. Davies slid a pass into the front man's path, though his delicate chip over the grounded Button bounced inches past the foot of the post.
Button had to remain on his toes because more would be required of him before the break. Neal Bishop's stinging strike from the edge of the box was next to test the stopper, requiring him to athletically palm away at full reach.
The busy goalkeeper was eventually beaten by none other than Davies, sending the healthy away following into hysterics as he celebrated in front of them. Craig Westcarr had worked the left channel and rolled the ball centrally, where a smart turn from Hughes allowed Davies to produce a stern low drive into the corner of the net from the angle of the six-yard box.
Davies was the first player to come close after the interval, as well, when Referee Mr McDermid accidentally got in the way of a Shrewsbury passing move. Rodgers broke, feeding the ball to Ricky Ravenhill, who then set up Davies to shoot low, into the arms of Button.
At the other end, as a product of a direct Button kick,&nbsp;Jamie Cureton&nbsp;found himself with the home team's best opportunity of the match to this point. Spotting Schmeichel edging off his line, he went for the lob, only to find the County supporters behind the goal.
Cureton again came close, this time with a delightful bending effort from inside the area. The first time strike, from a grounded Simpson centre, deflected just over the stretching Schmeichel's top corner.
Notts were weathering the storm of a sustained aerial onslaught, with Shrewsbury making the most of a strong wind advantage. The hosts were producing the majority of the attacking play, setting up a tense finish at the Pro-Star Stadium.
Substitute Paul Murray came close to levelling the tie as the fourth official indicated five minutes of added time. Latching onto a Stephen Hunt clearance, he powered narrowly wide of the target from distance.
It was the last throw of the dice for Paul Simpson's men and they were&nbsp;piling numbers forward at every opportunity. Still, Notts held on for another vital three points and a draw at Spotland leaves them only five points adrift of Rochdale with a game in hand.
Attendance: 6,287(1,258 Notts County supporters)
Man of the Match: Lee Hughes
Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, Jamie Clapham, Mike Edwards, Graeme Lee, Stephen Hunt, Craig Westcarr (Hawley 71), Neal Bishop, Ricky Ravenhill, Ben Davies, Luke Rodgers (Hamshaw 84), Lee Hughes.
Substitutes: Russell Hoult, Delroy Facey, Matt Hamshaw, Karl Hawley, Ben Fairclough, Sean Canham, Ade Akinbiyi.
Scorer(s): Davies 36
Yellow Card(s): Rodgers 4, Lee 82, Hughes 84
Shrewsbury: David Button, Dean Holden, Joe Skarz, Graham Coughlan, Terry Dunfield (Murray 60), Dave Hibbert (Bright 78), Jamie Cureton (Van Den Broek 61), Jake Simpson, Lewis Neal, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Kevin McIntyre.
Substitutes: Kris Bright, Paul Murray, Benjamin Van Den Broek, Steve Leslie, Harry Hooman, Chris Neal, Tom Bradshaw.
Yellow Card(s): Dunfield 6, McIntyre 33
Report by Dane Vincent