Goals from Jimmy Knowles and Kyle Wootton were enough to earn victory over Stockport County in the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
The front men scored either side of half-time to render Ashley Palmer's equaliser meaningless and send us into round five.
Ahead of the match Neal Ardley hinted that he would be selecting his team with one eye on upcoming league matches against Yeovil (Tuesday) and Torquay (Saturday), and that presented the likes of Luke Pilling, Sam Graham, Matty Wolfe, Knowles and debutant loanee Calvin Miller, deployed in a left-back role, with an opportunity to impress.
Richard Brindley, stand-in skipper Jake Reeves, Enzio Boldewijn, Elisha Sam, Ruben Rodrigues and Alex Lacey completed the starting XI, with seven experienced campaigners waiting to make their mark off the bench.
We claimed the game’s first shot on eight minutes when Knowles showed excellent acceleration to burst into the area from the left before seeing his effort diverted behind by a defender.
Stockport issued an immediate response through Jordan Williams, who struck a long-range shot fiercely but could only guide it straight at Pilling.
Chances proved few and far between thereafter despite our dominance in possession.
Indeed, the small number of onlookers at Edgeley Park had to wait until the 31st minute for the game’s next shot – and it proved to result in the opening goal.
Knowles was the man of the moment, producing a neat finish near the penalty spot after Rodrigues had showed good skill to progress into the area.
It was no more than we deserved for our first-half display but we were kicking ourselves six minutes later when the hosts restored parity with their first real opportunity of the half as a corner from the left was bundled home by Ashley Palmer at the back post after the ball had traveled all the way across the box.
Wolfe was looking lively in midfield once again and, shortly after play resumed, he tried his luck with a 35-yard effort which Josh Barnes saved low down to his right.
The hosts ended the half with their best spell of the game thus far, Ryan Croasdale forcing Pilling into a good save with his legs before Connor Jennings saw a shot blocked with the final effort of the opening period.
There were no changes at the break but Ardley was forced into one shortly after the restart when Boldewijn made way for Kyle Wootton with what looked like a facial injury. Shortly afterwards, Lacey made way for Connell Rawlinson in what looked like a pre-planned switch.
While we had regained control of the game, second-half opportunities were at a premium. Knowles’ 64th-minute deflected cross which skimmed the bar proved to be the first real action of the second period.
Four minutes later, Reeves made way for Michael Doyle and Wootton nodded over from a corner as penalties began to look a real possibility.
But Stockport had a glorious chance to nudge themselves in front on 71 minutes when Pilling was closed down by Richard Bennett and, left in no man’s land, he could only watch on as Adam Thomas looped the ball over him, on to the post and behind for a goal kick.
Pilling then made a tremendous save to push substitute Alex Reid’s shot out for a corner before, inside the final five minutes, Bennett missed another big chance when he guided his first-time effort wide after meeting a low cross eight yards out.
And we compounded our hosts’ frustrations in the dying embers of normal time when Wootton did brilliantly to shield the ball 25 yards out before striking it sweetly towards goal. The ball took a huge deflection off a defender and nestled neatly in the bottom corner to put us ahead.
Four minutes were added on at the end and Wolfe nearly capped his pleasing performance with a goal when his shot from a narrow angle missed the far post by a whisker.
But a one-goal cushion proved to be enough as we continued our impressive record in the FA Trophy.
Notts starting XI: Pilling; Miller, Lacey (Rawlinson 57'), Graham, Brindley; Reeves (Doyle 68'), Wolfe, Rodrigues; Knowles, Sam, Boldewijn (Wootton 51').
Unused subs: Slocombe, Chicksen, Kelly-Evans, O'Brien.