Match Proudly Sponsored By:
Lee Hughes gave Notts County all three points this afternoon with a 73rd minute winner against a gutsy Leyton Orient.
Manager Craig Short stuck with the same side that had performed so well against Yeovil and Charlton, as his side looked to bounce back from the 1-0 loss at the Valley. The only switch came on the bench, with on-loan Blackburn midfielder coming into the squad for the first time.
Notts opened brightly and almost edged in front inside two minutes, only Kevin Smith was unable to round off an exciting attack that revolved around Ben Davies. At the other end of the pitch, the lively Dean Cox had a well-struck effort bravely blocked by John Thompson.
Davies' next major involvement resulted in the game's opener, from a free kick on the touchline. Whipped in with pace towards the near post, last season's top-scorer Hughes latched onto it with a diving header to power past Jamie Jones in the visiting goal.
The Magpies continued to make up for missed chances in the Charlton loss with another goal on 20 minutes. Craig Westcarr's persistence paid off when he chased down a hesitant back-pass to prod confidently past Jones.
But Orient were back in the match almost instantly after Stuart Nelson palmed away Adam Chambers' ferocious punt from distance. Ryan Jarvis reacted first to the loose ball and placed into the far corner to make it 2-1.
Cox was definitely the Os' most involved player and he might have levelled the game moments later, when he fired hopefully across the face of goal. Alex Revell also came close from a Charlie Daniels' cross but his glancing header flew high and wide.
Notts had been sucked into a long ball game at the end of the half and continued it after the break. As a result, it appeared that the visitors were the most likely to strike next.
And they did on 54 minutes through Matthew Spring, who stooped low to head into the bottom corner. This came from a delightful delivery by Cox, who had time to pick out the goal-scorer from the left wing.
Judge was introduced at the expense of Smith in an attempt to get Notts back into gear. His pace and energy immediately lifted the home crowd, as he took up a spot on the left flank, with Westcarr moving up front to partner Hughes.
A foul on Hughes gave County an opportunity to get back in front in the form of a Davies free kick. Bent over the wall towards the bottom corner, Jones only just managed to bundle it around the post.
But a goal wasn't far away and from a superb defence splitting pass out wide by Neal Bishop, Notts went on to grab their third. John Thompson had run into the space down the right and hit a grounded centre towards the back post, where Hughes hit home his second of the afternoon.
The forward almost created a fourth, as well, as he made room to flick into the path of Judge from a throw-in. The winger steadied himself and aimed for the far corner but a deflection sent his shot well wide of the target.
Judge almost netted again following a defensive mix up but he cleared the bar in what proved to be the last effort of the match. This win pushes the Magpies back into the top-half but a Carling Cup match with Wolves awaits before they look to add another three points to their total away at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
Attendance: 6,256 (452 Leyton Orient supporters)
Hillside Medical Supplies Man of the Match: Jon Harley