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Notts County were back at their best this afternoon, thumping Yeovil Town 4-0 to cap off a day of celebration for the club in style.
With all the excitement about the 100 Years at Meadow Lane festivities, the buzz around the stadium was evident, especially when the returning Lee Hughes' name was called out on the tannoy system. However, the result was on everybody's minds and the day would surely be made significantly more memorable with three points in the bag.
Notts, in their all white centenary attire, opened brightest and had two opportunities to go in front during the first 15 minutes. Both strikers, Kevin Smith and Hughes, had the crowd on the edge of their seats but neither managed to break the deadlock.
On four minutes, Smith had been unable to connect convincingly with a Craig Westcarr cross, following a tidy passing move involving John Thompson and Hughes. Nine minutes later, Hughes directed a Ben Davies delivery against the base of the woodwork, though it wouldn't have mattered as he was standing in an offside position.
But a goal wasn't far away and from a long ball, Notts edged in front. Westcarr chased behind the Yeovil backline, who were desperately retreating, and despite pressure from the defenders, the winger coolly prodded over the outrushing goalkeeper.
Notts were boosted and looked progressively confident, playing the ball around with conviction. From this, Craig Short's side doubled their lead, this time through Davies.
Westcarr had been brought down heavily inside the box, prompting calls for a penalty but these were silenced when Davies collected the ball and smashed powerfully at goal. Glovers' stopper John Sullivan parried, but he was unable to keep the effort out as it trickled over the line off the foot of the post.
Yeovil had rarely threatened in the opening 45, with only two attempts of note.
Makeshift striker Adam Virgo kneed over from close range and Andy Welsh forced Stuart Nelson to gather comfortably from range.
Still, County had time to add their third before half time, Davies again the scorer. He had previously come close with a sliding shot but he made his next one count, slotting into the bottom-left corner to round off some sharp build-up play in the final third.
Notts started the second half well and could have extended the lead to four inside five minutes. Davies and Jon Harley linked up well down the left flank and the latter's floated centre ended in Westcarr volleying over.
Hughes was making a huge impact upon his return but was growing increasingly frustrated with the referee, after seemingly being held by his markers on numerous occasions. Last year's top-scorer kept his cool though, and almost grabbed an assist with a delightful weighted lay-off that saw Westcarr bend narrowly wide of target.
In a rare opening for the visitors, Luke Freeman almost crept in from Stefan Stam's diagonal pass. Nelson was alert and, coupled with Krystian Pearce's persistence, quelled the danger.
But Notts resumed their dominance and continued to carve out chances. Lee and Pearce both came close but it was Hughes that netted next, making it 4-0.
Davies spotted the clever, peeling run of the striker and looped perfectly into his path. Steadying himself, Hughes fired powerfully past Sullivan at his near post, before breaking into his first dance of the season in front of the jubilant Kop.
This proved to be the final goal of an entertaining 90 minutes for the home faithful - akin to many displays last term. It was certainly a fitting way to top off a landmark day for the club.
Attendance: 6,288 (316 Yeovil Town supporters)
Retail Assist Man of the Match: Ben Davies
For match statistics, see the information bar to the right of the report.
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