Notts County moved to the top of the League Two table with a fifth consecutive triumph, this time over Lincoln City.
Promotion would have to wait for another day, however, because of Rotherham United's win over Northampton Town. League One is almost a certainty considering the team's exemplary goal difference that vastly outweighs any other team in the division.
The Magpies went into this local derby with one change: Delroy Facey had come in for Luke Rodgers after impressing from the bench in the 1-0 win over Northampton. Lincoln were also in high spirits, having claimed the scalp of high flying Bournemouth with the help of free-scoring striker Davide Somma.
Another unstoppable front man, Hughes, was first to make an impact, though, after Ben Davies was brought down on the left flank. The midfielder stepped up to deliver a bending free-kick deep into the goalmouth, which enabled Hughes to flick past the Imps' stopper, Rob Burch, with his head.
The net was found after just 53 seconds but it was short-lived, as two minutes later Lennon responded, shattering Notts' enviable streak of clean sheets. A long ball wasn't properly dealt with by the County back four, allowing the winger to nip in and squeeze the ball past Kasper Schmeichel at his near post.
It was a lively opening at Meadow Lane and more goals looked likely to follow. From the left wing, Davies narrowly evaded the top corner with another set-piece and Craig Westcarr was tripped after skipping past Burch, though somehow the referee waved play on.
It seemed that everyone in the stadium expected a penalty to be given and a red card brandished, but nothing was given. A sending off did follow moments later, however, when Moses Swaibu grounded Westcarr with a high challenge.
This was the first of numerous confrontations and it appeared that Mr Quinn was losing control of the game. Still, attentions were reverted back to the football by Somma's long-range shot towards the top corner that forced Schmeichel to athletically palm away.
Burch was provided with a slightly sterner test at the other end of the pitch as Hughes found space following a quick Westcarr throw. His stinging punt from eight yards was met by the sharply reacting goalkeeper, who then scrambled to his feet to bundle clear Hughes' rebound.
Notts had more chances to take the lead before the break but went into the changing room level. Graeme Lee volleyed narrowly wide, Hughes cut inside to fire directly at the keeper and Delroy Facey came agonisingly close to connecting with a teasing back post cross.
Hughes came close after the interval, as well, rounding off a tidy move down the right. John Thompson eventually drifted a cross into the box where Notts' top scorer climbed above his marker to head at goal, requiring Burch to turn over his bar at full reach.
Notts continued to press early into the half and continued to be frustrated by a valiant 10-man Lincoln. Ricky Ravenhill curled over from the edge of the box and Hughes glanced wide after Davies floated a delightful ball onto his head, but still no goal came.
Burch was the hero yet again when he was sold short on a back pass. The visiting number one flicked the ball away from the lurking Hughes, who was ready to slot the ball home.
From the resulting corner, Westcarr collected and whipped towards the back stick, perfect for Lee to put full force behind a stunning diving header that crashed into the roof of the net. The stadium erupted to deafening levels and news had filtered through that if the scores in the division remained level Notts would be top of the league, with promotion almost certainly sealed.
There was still plenty of time for this to change and Chris Sutton's side were showing attacking intentions of their own. Little of note was created with the best effort coming in the form of a wild Somma strike from distance.
If any team was to grab another it seemed like it would be Notts and they were definitely in search of a third. One of countless promising centres from Facey found Davies, who was denied by the leg of Burch and then Hughes skimmed the foot of the post with a powerful, swerving strike.
More was to follow from Davies' cleanly struck attempt that saw Burch flick over with the tips of his fingers. Fans' favourite Facey didn't fail to find the back of the net, bursting free of his marker to fire in off the bar with a ferocious hit.
Johnnie Jackson almost made it four with his first touch, almost instantly after coming off the bench. Connecting with another dangerous back post cross, he was denied by another top Burch save.
A point on Saturday against Morecambe would guarantee promotion for Steve Cotterill's men. A bumper crowd is expected to turn out for what looks set to be a memorable day.
Attendance: 7,501 (682 Lincoln City supporters)
North51 Man of the Match: Lee Hughes
Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, John Thompson, Mike Edwards, Graeme Lee, Stephen Hunt, Craig Westcarr (Clapham 90), Neal Bishop, Ricky Ravenhill, Ben Davies (Jackson 90), Delroy Facey, Lee Hughes (Rodgers 89).
Substitutes: Russell Hoult, Matt Hamshaw, Karl Hawley, Jamie Clapham, Johnnie Jackson, Luke Rodgers, Ade Akinbiyi.
Scorer(s): Hughes 1, Lee 65
Yellow Card(s): Hughes 22, Lee 27
Lincoln City: Rob Burch, Paul Green, Moses Swailbu, Scott Kerr, Steven Lennon, Davide Somma, Clarke Keltie, Nathan Baker, Chris Herd (Clarke 51), Joe Anderson, Matthew Saunders (Gordon 76).
Substitutes: Paul Musselwhite, Daniel Hone, Paul Connor, Lenell John-Lewis, Shane Clarke, Michael Gordon, Brian Gilmour.
Scorer(s): Lennon 4
Yellow Card(s): Saunders 45, Lennon 55, Somma 57, Kerr 90
Red Card(s): Swaibu 16
Report by Dane Vincent