After a frustrating start to life as Notts County manager Paul Ince was finally able to celebrate a victory in League One on Tuesday evening as a late strike from substitute Lee Hughes was enough to edge past the challenge of Swindon Town. Last year's play-off final losers came to Meadow Lane in poor form but did boast one of the division's hottest properties in striker Charlie Austin who has been a revelation for the Robins since his move from Poole Town, whilst former Notts loanee Matt Ritchie lined up on the right side of midfield. For Notts, Hughes was fit enough to return to the bench after missing the Tranmere defeat with illness whilst Lee Miller came in for his first start for the club alongside Craig Westcarr in attack.
Notts started the brighter of the two sides and Westcarr was the first to threaten, latching onto a poor back header from Lescinel Jean-Francois and firing in a shot from a tight angle that was beaten away by Phil Smith. For the visitors, Michael Timlin was able to find space from a quick throw in and fizzed in a goal bound effort that was bravely repelled by Mike Edwards. Miller was looking dangerous for Notts and his presence twice freed up space for teammates, with Neal Bishop and Craig Westcarr both firing narrowly off target from around the edge of the area.
It was Westcarr who was causing the most problems though and he raced clear after Alan Judge's superb through ball and seemed to be ready to slot Notts infront, but Jean-Francois managed a superb sliding tackle just as he was about to pull the trigger. From the resulting corner Swindon broke and Matt Ritchie got in behind the Notts defence and was able to pull it back into the path of former Nottingham Forest man David Prutton, but Rob Burch was alert to the danger and able to smother his effort.
Notts also started the second half brightly and could've been infront when impressive Judge's surging run and cross was cleared as far as Ricky Ravenhill, who's stinging drive from the edge of the area was beaten away by Smith. At the other end a corner wasn't dealt with by Notts and Austin had his first sniff of goal, powerfully heading towards the far corner where Jon Harley was well positioned to clear off the line. When Ben Davies whipped a thunderbolt of a free kick inches wide of the post it didn't seem like it was going to be Notts' night, but the introduction of Hughes changed that. It seemed to cause panic in the Swindon defence and as the game ticked into injury time the pressure told, with Westcarr's delicate centre finding Hughes at the far post with time to bring the ball down and slide it past Smith to lift the roof of Meadow Lane and seal a vital win for the Magpies.
Notts County 1 (Hughes '89)
Swindon Town 0