Paddy McCourt headed home his first goal for the Magpies as Notts County secured a 1-0 victory over Colchester United.
It was a delightful cross from Jamal Campbell-Ryce that set up McCourt at the back post, allowing him to head past Sam Walker.
Notts had a number of chances to take the lead in the first half, Blair Adams with the best of them, forcing Walker into a wonderful save as his shot was flying into the top corner.
Colchester’s best chance of the game fell to Macauley Bonne, but Adams was on the line to deny the home side from equalising
Notts held on at the end to secure a well-deserved three points.
Magpies’ manager Shaun Derry made one change to the starting line-up that were defeated 1-0 by Port Vale on Saturday. Gary Jones was brought into the midfield to play alongside Curtis Thompson and Liam Noble. Balint Bajner was the man to miss out, dropping to the bench. Paddy McCourt and Jamal Campbell-Ryce kept their places in the starting eleven after impressing on their debuts.
Amongst the substitutes was new signing Leroy Lita, having moved to the Magpies from Barnsley on loan till the end of the season earlier in the day.
It was Notts who got the game underway and put the pressure on the home side early on, good pressure at the back post from Curtis Thompson earned Notts a corner. Gary Jones took the set piece and Hayden Mullins got a head to it, but he couldn’t guide the ball towards goal as he was leaning back. Colchester eventually got the ball clear.
Notts continued on their early pressure with some good possession. A good passing move found its way to Gary Jones on the edge of the area. His effort looked to be going in, but it was deflected wide for a corner. Liam Noble too had a shot from distance, but his half volley looped over the bar.
Down the other end, Sammie Szmodics crossed to the back post for the visitors, Chris Porter was waiting in space, but the pass was just over the head of the striker, relieving all the pressure off the Magpies.
The Magpies were on top during the opening stages, Campbell-Ryce received the ball on the left, he cut inside onto this right foot and hit a shot for the far bottom corner. Sam Walker got down well to deny the winger from opening the scoring for the evening.
A brief spell of possession for the home side followed, but the Magpies counter attacked well. Paddy McCourt found Campbell-Ryce in the box, he shot first time, he was stretching as the keeper saved well. Seconds later, Blair Adams latched onto a loose ball on the edge area, struck a fantastic left footed shot to the top corner, but Walker got across fantastically to deny the left-back.
Szmodics had a half chance for Colchester with 35 minutes gone, slicing an effort from the edge of the box wide of Roy Carroll’s goal. Liam Noble had a chance himself down the other, again Walker got down well to deny the midfielder once again from nestling his effort into the bottom corner.
Quick thinking from Colchester nearly put them ahead just before half time. A quick throw from Gavin Massey sent Chris Porter clear down the left. He put the ball in the box, Notts cleared but it fell to George Moncur on the edge of the box. He hit his show low and hard, but Carroll was equal to it.
HT: Colchester United 0 – 0 Notts County
Colchester started the second half the better of the two teams, earning a couple of set pieces, but on both occasions Roy Carroll dealt with the danger with ease.
A good save from Roy Carroll kept Notts level ten minutes gone after the break. A good flick from Chris Porter fell to Massey in the box. He cut inside and hit a shot low, but it was straight at Carroll who got the ball clear.
Patient build up play from Notts worked the space for a shot from Curtis Thompson. Blair Adams played the ball to the midfielder, he shot first time, but it was straight at Walker.
Moments later, Gary Jones crossed for Garry Thompson, he rose above his defender, but nodded the ball wide of the target.
Notts were beginning to get on top again; the introduction of Leroy Lita put Notts back on the attacking mentality. McCourt had a shot from the edge of the area comfortably caught by Walker.
The constant pressure from Notts rewarded them with a fantastic goal to put them a goal ahead. Campbell-Ryce found himself with the ball on the right; he clipped a delightful ball over the defence to the back post. McCourt made a clever run to the back post, and headed the ball in past Walker. A well deserved goal for the Magpies.
Sam Walker in the Colchester goal had made some vital saves throughout the game, and he kept his side in the game once again. Campbell-Ryce put the ball across goal, Colchester failed to clear and it fell to Liam Noble, who hit it first time, but Walker tipped the effort wide of the post.
It was back to the walls stuff from the Magpies as Colchester searched for an equaliser. Matthew Briggs earned his side a corner, Notts cleared to David Fox on the edge of the box. He hit it first, time but it was well blocked. Massey blazed a shot over from long range before Macauley Bonne had a shot from inside the box, it looked to be going in, but Blair Adams was there to clear it off the line.
Notts made further changes as they looked for a second goal. Balint Bajner and Will Hayhurst were brought on to freshen things up. With five minutes to go, Notts were defending well to keep their lead intact. A cross from Campbell-Ryce fell to the head of Balint Bajner, he nodded it on for Lita, who acrobatically guided the ball goalwards, however his effort went over the bar.
Colchester put on the pressure late on, but the Magpies stayed strong at the back to keep their one nil lead intact. Notts cleared everything the home side threw at them as they held on to a well-deserved and comfortable three points.
FT: Colchester United 0 – 1 Notts County
MAGPIE PLAYER MAN OF THE MATCH | Jamal Campbell-Ryce
Had an excellent game for the Magpies. Showed great intent throughout the game, playing both left and right wing.
On a number of occasions, the Sheffield United loanee beat his defender and put a teasing cross into the box.
It was a real bit of quality from JCR that set up the goal for McCourt, clipping it for the far post, allowing McCourt the space to head home. A good performance from the winger, after a good performance at the weekend.