Notts County came from behind to defeat Swindon Town 2-1 at the County Ground this afternoon.
Former County loanee Matt Ritchie opened the scoring 18 minutes into the fixture with a close-range finish. The Magpies pushed forward in search of an equaliser but were unable to draw level ahead of the break.
Alan Judge made the perfect return to action in the second period by scoring with a bending cross from the left wing. Lee Hughes, also off the bench, made it 2-1 with five minutes to spare and that was enough for his team to claim three points.
Following the midweek triumph over Tranmere Rovers, Notts were aiming to claim back-to-back wins for the first time since the beginning of January. And, if the results went their way, the Magpies could move five points clear of the League 1 drop zone.
Five changes were made from the Prenton Park clash, with Ricky Ravenhill, Hughes, Sam Sodje, John Thompson and Carl Regan dropping out of the starting 11. In their place, Mike Edwards, Graeme Lee, Stephen Darby, Ben Burgess and Karl Hawley slotted into a 4-4-2 formation.
In a lively start to the match, both outfits could have gone in front and Notts even had the ball in the net. Hold-up play by Hawley allowed Bishop to swing the ball towards Burgess from deep but the striker's powerful header was ruled out for offside.
Stuart Nelson tipped Michael Rose's low free kick around the post to keep out the hosts' first serious attempt. From the resulting play, full-back Paul Caddis found Calvin Andrew but his attempt was touched over the bar by the Notts stopper.
Andrew was presented with another opening moments later, when the ball broke for him behind the Magpies' backline. He rounded Nelson and looked to slot home, only Darby had retreated desperately to hack the ball off the goal line.
On 18 minutes, Swindon went ahead after County had failed to clear the danger. Jon-Paul McGovern was given space to overhead kick across the face of goal, where Ritchie slammed into the net at the back post.
As the first half progressed, Martin Allen's side grew into the game and started to press Swindon back. During this dominance, Edwards' cross appeared to be handled but nothing was given.
Hawley created the next chance for Notts from the right on 41 minutes, when his centred pass found Burgess with his back to goal. The former Blackpool man held off his marker on the six-yard line but was unable to hit the target with his left-footed strike.
In the dying moments of the half, Edwards also came close from Jon Harley's back-post corner. The defender, who was playing alongside Neal Bishop in the centre of midfield, headed high and wide.
At the beginning of the second 45, Burgess scooped over from the edge of the box and David Prutton volleyed high into the stands. However, Jonathan Douglas's hellacious volley, from McGovern's corner, came much closer, as it almost shattered the crossbar.
Judge made his comeback from a long-standing foot injury on 50 minutes. And, he almost found the top corner shortly after from distance, following a quickly taken free kick.
After Hughes's introduction, at the expense of Craig Westcarr, Judge's dribbling made room for Harley to get a shot away. The full-back advanced into the area but his hit swerved away from goal.
Allen's final substitution saw Dave Martin replace Darby, with Edwards shifting to right-back, and the on-loan Derby winger almost found the net from the right. His ambitious hit was deflected wide of the far top corner by McGovern.
With 12 minutes remaining, Judge had County back on level terms with his first goal for the club. From the wing, his bending delivery evaded everyone, including Hughes's attempted back-heel, and nestled in the corner.
Burgess then provided Notts' second through pure tenacity, as he closed down Scott Cuthbert to prod the ball forward. Hughes raced clear and rounded the home stopper, David Lucas, before slotting into an empty net.
Emotional celebrations ensued for the second time in front of the travelling support but a tense ending to the match awaited, with five minutes of added time shown by the fourth official. The Magpies played down the clock smartly and head into the final three fixtures four points above the relegation zone.
Magpie Player Man of the Match: Alan Judge