Terry Hawkridge said Notts County's class was the difference as they beat Lincoln City 4-1 at Meadow Lane to register a fifth straight win in Sky Bet League Two.
The Magpies were under pressure early on but Billy Knott's red card for a wild challenge on Ryan Yates gave Kevin Nolan's team a man advantage.
Jon Stead volleyed in the opening goal but the Imps hit back in the early stages of the second period as Harry Anderson's header pulled them level.
But County's attacking ability shone through with Matt Tootle rifling Notts back in front before Jorge Grant's stunning free-kick made it 3-1.
Hawkridge himself got in on the act, bagging his first goal for Notts to round off the scoring, and was full of praise for another strong team performance.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game because Lincoln are a good team," he said. "We showed our class in the second half and got the goals we needed.
"We used the sending off to our strengths and we moved the ball well in the second half. We tired them out and the goals came.
"They were all good goals. For a right back, it's a great finish from Toots and Jorge probably shouldn't be scoring a free-kick from there but he's put it right in the top corner! Steady's was a good finish, too."
Notts went top of the league with the victory, thanks in part to Exeter's 2-0 defeat at Coventry and, with the Magpies travelling to face the Grecians on Tuesday night, the 27-year-old is keen to ensure focus is sharpened.
"It's a good win but it's still early doors and we have to now focus on the Exeter game on Tuesday night.
"It's going well but we're only nine games into the season. We have a long way to go and we just need to keep building on what we've been doing."
The winger's first goal for the club came after he cut in from the left wing, dancing past a couple of challenges before curling the ball into the bottom corner.
There was a muted celebration from Hawkridge, who swapped Sincil Bank for Meadow Lane over the summer:
"I said coming into the game if I scored I wouldn't celebrate," he revealed.
"I had a great time at Lincoln and I have a respect for the club and the fans."