Notts County were defeated 4-2 by Colchester United this afternoon.
Stuart Nelson produced a string of outstanding first half saves to keep the game at 0-0 heading into the break. Only four minutes after the restart, Anthony Wordsworth's deflected free kick put the U's in front.
Notts equalised when Sam Sodje met Jude Stirling's long throw with a thumping header but Colchester quickly restored the deficit. On 66 minute, Michail Antonio capitalised on a rebound, rounding off a counter attack with the Magpies pushing for a second of their own.
Ian Henderson then found the top corner with a commanding strike from distance and Kayode Odejayi rounded the goalkeeper to make it 4-1. Jeff Hughes netted a late consolation goal to round off the scoring.
Martin Allen made three changes to the team that faced Bury in midweek, with Sodje, Ricky Ravenhill and Karl Hawley all coming into the starting 11. Krystian Pearce, who picked up his fifth booking of the season against the Shakers and a subsequent one-game suspension, Hamza Bencherif and Ben Burgess all dropped out of the matchday squad.
Last season's trip to the Weston Homes Community Stadium had spelled the end of Craig Short's reign as manager but this time around, the Magpies had more to be positive about. Heading into the fixture, County were in the Play-Off places and had been beaten just once in the most recent 10 league outings.
Notts dictated much of the play in the opening stages but it was the hosts that provided the attempts at goal. Nelson was tested for the first time on four minutes, when he had to gather well from Andy Bond's driven free kick.
Two minutes later, Nelson rushed towards the wing in an attempt to keep the ball from going out for a corner, though his clearance into touch was quickly gathered by Colchester. A quick throw enabled a through-pass to Steven Gillespie, who struck just wide, as Nelson scurried back into position.
The County goalkeeper then produced a spectacular stop to deny Antonio, whose downward volley looked destined for the top corner. Moments later, from one of Nelson's long kicks, Karl Hawley held off his marker and made room to fire just past the post from the edge of the box.
Wordsworth was next to test Nelson, with a powerful hit that forced the stopper to parry to safety. Shortly after, the midfielder came close to finding the top corner with a free kick that Nelson held, after leaping across his goal.
Hawley threatened again for the Magpies, when he latched onto Alan Judge's overhead pass, only his attempt cleared the bar. At the other end, Wordsworth had another effort, this time from range, and, once more, Nelson reacted acrobatically to frustrate the U's.
Less than a minute into the second period, the U's almost went in front when Wordsworth picked out Antonio with a diagonal pass. Antonio nodded into the path of Ian Henderson, who volleyed into the stand behind the goal.
However, on 49 minutes, Wordsworth finally beat Nelson, following a challenge by Sodje on the edge of the area that resulted in a free kick - much to the disagreement of the County players. Wordsworth's shot deflected strongly off the defensive wall and Nelson could only watch on as the ball bounced over the line.
Sodje almost levelled the scores instantly when he directed Judge's corner over with a diving header from six yards out. Ravenhill then volleyed over, moments ahead of Stirling's introduction.
Stirling's trademark long throw was met by Sodje's incredible leap that allowed him to power a header beyond home keeper Ben Williams. The defender danced with his teammates, as he celebrated his third goal of the campaign.
Nelson kept it at 1-1 with a tremendous reaching save to keep out Wordsworth's bending punt. Alan Sheehan then had to produce a goal line block to deny Antonio's close-range shot.
As the Magpies searched for a second, Colchester hit them on the break to make it 2-1, courtesy of some fine work down the right by Odejayi. Sodje produced a block, as the retreating defenders and Nelson attempted to eradicate the danger, but the ball invitingly for Antonio to place into an empty net.
On 71 and 74, Colchester added to their tally, first through Henderson's long-range hit into the top corner. Three minutes later, Odejayi bent his run to beat the offside trap, rounded Nelson and slotted home.
Lee Hughes thought he'd pulled a goal back for Notts, when he picked up Julian Kelly's incisive through-ball. The forward's finish beat Williams but was kept out by the foot of the post.
Jeff Hughes did manage to grab Notts' second, when the Colchester rearguard failed to clear. His low shot deflected into the bottom corner but little stoppage time remained for County to produce a miraculous comeback.
The Magpies will look to bounce back from the defeat next weekend, when Wycombe Wanderers visit Meadow Lane. However, they will be without skipper Neal Bishop, following his fifth booking of the season.
Man of the Match: Stuart Nelson