Notts moved into the National League play-off places as a superb all-round team performance secured a well-deserved 2-0 triumph over fellow promotion hopefuls Torquay United.
Goals early in each half from Richard Brindley and Kristian Dennis sealed a win - our third consecutive home victory - which was rarely threatened as the Gulls' considerable goal threat was blunted by a Notts performance full of grit, determination and quality in both boxes.
Neal Ardley made two changes from the team which beat Dagenham and Redbridge 2-0 at Meadow Lane on Tuesday, with Dennis’ recent goalscoring exploits rewarded with a starting place up front alongside Kyle Wootton, while Michael Doyle made his first start since returning from a four-match suspension, the Irishman reclaiming the captain’s armband from his central midfield partner Mitch Rose.
That meant Wes Thomas and Regan Booty had to settle for places on the bench along with Dion Kelly-Evans, who had completed his recovery from injury.
This was a clash between two in-form teams, with the high-scoring Gulls looking for a fourth win in a row and us seeking a fifth consecutive home match without conceding.
We started the match the brighter, with Sean Shields heavily involved on the left wing. His darting runs resulted in us winning several corners, and it was from one of these that we took the lead in the eighth minute. Shields took the kick and although Dennis' initial shot was cleared, it fell to Brindley 30 yards from goal and his superbly-struck right-foot shot skimmed into the bottom corner.
It was the perfect start and we continued to press, with Shields the main outlet, though his crosses came to nothing and slowly Torquay worked their way into the game. However, we continued to work hard without the ball and with Connell Rawlinson and Ben Tuner majestic at the back, the visitors failed to create any clear-cut opportunities.
As the half wore on we regained control and could have gone into the break further ahead. Wooton went close with a header from another Shields cross, while Dennis volleyed over after latching on to Rose's long throw.
And in two minutes of added time, Shields and Dennis combined to win another corner, with Torquay keeper Lucas Cavagnari spilling Shields' delivery but no Notts player on hand to capitalise.
That was the final action of an exciting half with us good value for the lead.
We started the second half as we had the first and quickly doubled our lead. Enzio Boldewijn led a counter attack and after Shields won a free kick wide on the left, he picked himself up to deliver a peach of a cross which Dennis deftly headed across Cavagnari and into the net.
The confidence was flowing through our ranks and despite Brindley being booked for a professional foul to halt a Torquay break, we were soon back in control, winning a free kick 25 yards from goal which Rose fired over the bar.
There was a worry for us when Ben Wynter clattered into Zoumana Bakayogo, the full back being forced off to generous applause and being replaced by Kelly-Evans, before Wooton controlled the resultant free kick before firing over.
Cavagnari's poor control of a back pass almost let us in as we pressed again, then Dennis fired a free kick high and wide.
Kelly-Evans and Torquay's Kalvin Lumbombo both went into the book for rash challenges before the visitors had their best chance of the game, Rawlinson clearing off the line after Ben Whitfield stabbed the ball goalwards as we failed to clear our lines.
Booty replaced a tiring Shields, who had a fine game, before Dennis made way for Thomas, and while Torquay continued to probe for a breakthrough, we looked comfortable, superbly backed by all but 673 of the 5,265 crowd.
As Torquay tired we surged forward and Thomas had a half chance at the near post which he failed to convert, then Boldewijn fired in a good cross which Thomas tried to get on the end of, only to suffer a blow to the head from which he quickly recovered.
During five minutes of added time our lead was well protected as we continued to show tremendous workrate to secure the three points and move into fifth place in the table.