Match Sponsored By:
Two second half goals condemned Notts County to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Exeter City.
Goal-scoring opportunities were limited in the opening 45. Alan Gow came closest for Notts with a promising attempt from distance and Jamie Cureton was prevented from making it 1-0 by Stuart Nelson.
The game livened up after the interval, leading to the game's opener, which saw Steve Tully place home on the rebound. The lead was doubled 19 minutes later, when Matthew Taylor found the corner with a fine header.
Paul Ince's team were keen to erase the memory of the Tranmere abandonment, where a victory looked so likely, with three points against the Grecians. Heading into the game, Notts had only been beaten once in 12 games - a stark contrast to their opponents, who had won just once since the turn of the year.
The Magpies were unchanged from the previous weekend, though there were two new faces on the bench. Loan signings Conor Clifford and Kevin McDonald were both included, following their arrival on Friday.
A scrappy opening saw little created at either end but when Cureton's clever run allowed him in behind the County backline, he should have scored. The striker only had Nelson to beat, as he progressed into the area, but the goalkeeper stood up well to block the shot.
Carrying the ball into the final third with some tricky footwork, Gow almost found the net from range on 25 minutes. However, he was unable to replicate his wonder strike against Tranmere last week, as the ball flew wide of the top corner.
It was proving to be a first half with very few chances, with both teams maintaining their shape. Krystian Pearce, particularly, was standing out for Notts, producing a number of fine blocks and winning the majority of his aerial battles.
Going forward, Notts looked dangerous at times, especially when Gow was given room to run at the visitors' backline. It appeared to be the final touch that was lacking and a number of potential openings were squandered.
Exeter twice came close to grabbing the opener shortly after the break. Nelson was required to rush out of his box to deny Cureton and Troy Archibald-Henville headed over from a corner moments later.
At the other end, Gow nearly teed up Lee Hughes for a near-post volley, but the forward was unable to connect and home stopper Ben Hamer remained untested. Hamer could also have seen a card, when he appeared to handle the ball outside his area but the referee waved play on.
On 54 minutes, the deadlock was broken, following a piercing run from the left flank by Scott Golbourne, which allowed him to cut the ball back into the path of John O'Flynn. The frontman's effort was pushed away by Nelson but Tully reacted quickly to squeeze the ball into the corner of the net.
This prompted a host of changes for County, with both loan signings introduced in close succession. But, despite an extended period of territorial dominance, the visitors made it 2-0.
Ryan Harley's in-swinging corner met the run of Taylor, who thumped the ball into the corner with his head. Notts had 17 minutes to rescue a point.
Notts huffed and puffed but were unable to fight their way back into the match. Clifford fired a free kick wide of the target and Hughes rattled the post with a stern attempt on the turn.
One point still separates the Magpies from the League 1 relegation zone but they have a great chance to pick up some points on Tuesday night against Colchester.
Attendance: 6,176 (414 Exeter City supporters)
Cadbury Man of the Match: Krystian Pearce