Notts County 0 PNE 1North End made it five games unbeaten with an impressive 1-0 away win at Meadow Lane.
North End took the lead after 34 minutes, Will Hayhurst yet again involved, putting a superb delivery in from the left which was diverted into his own net by Haydy Hollis.
Manager Simon Grayson had been forced into one change prior to kick-off, Jack King failing a fitness text on his hip, Joe Garner getting his first start under the new manager.
The game was a slow burner to start with, very little goal mouth activity in the opening stages. The most though-provoking incident was a penalty shout on 12 minutes after Hayhurst appeared to be felled in the box, but only Joe Garner appeared to appeal to official Mick Russell.
The game started to come alive 20 minutes in as Lee Holmes, influential again on the right, drilled a volley right footed just wide from 20 yards after Nicky Wroe’s initial long free kick into the box wasn’t cleared properly.
Just before the half hour mark good harrying work on the right by David Buchanan gave Stuart Beavon – who was extremely lively in attack - the ball on the left flank, he drove inside and powered a 25 yard effort just over.
The opening goal came on 34 minuts. Hayhurst crossed the ball in from the left, at the second attempt, and it was put in by Haydn Hollis at the back post under pressure from Garner.
North End could have been out of sight by the interval. Two minutes after the goal a free kick was awarded to PNE; foul by Hollis on Garner 25 yards from goal in a left hand channel. It was brilliantly worked around the wall to Holmes, who crossed and almost brought about a second own goal.
Three minutes before the break Beavon again went close with a shot from 25 yards just past the post after a swift break and great 1-2 with Will Hayhurst. And from the goalkick Holmes picked up the ball and drove from his own half and was even closer, the No.11 firing just over the bar after a superb strike.
The home side had their best spell in the final 90 seconds of the half. Rudd’s first save came on 44 minutes; making a great stop from substitute Curtis Thompson - who had replaced Jamal Campbell-Ryce midway through the half - his effort coming after a through ball and then Jeff Hughes hit the bar with a clever rebound , eventually falling to Enoch Showunmi who fired over the bar from ten yards out.
Right on half time the Lilywhites had a superb chance to make it two. They broke with pace from from a Magpies corner; Holmes winning the ball in his own box and sending Beavon clean through. He raced away from two defenders, but just at the key moment the ball bobbled away from him and Bialkowski was able to get out and block the shot.
On the hour mark Beavon was again in on goal, he out-muscled Manny Smith in the left corner of the box and fired low to Bialkowski's left, but the keeper got down well and saved.
On the break from this chance, County's second substitute Arquin did the same thing as Beavon at the other end, this time the shot was a real tester and Declan Rudd had to be at his best to make a fine save low to his left hand side.
With six minutes left on the clock John Welsh burst through, only to see the keeper palm away his effort, with substitute Graham Cummins unable to reach the rebound and Welsh again unable to turn after the Irishman had crossed the ball back into the box.
Cummins himself was sent through on goal by David Buchanan in a left hand channel, just like the previous two, and again the Polish keeper made a superb save as the No.9 hit the shot across his body.
In the third minute of threwe added on for stoppages, Bialkowski came forward for a corner and Wroe almost scored from 45 yards on the break, but North End kept the clean sheet and the three points.
: Bialkowski, Sheehan, Bishop, Smith, Liddle, Showunmi (Blyth, 76), Hughes, Zoko (Arquin, 60), Cambell-Ryce (Thompsn, 22), Hollis, Boucaud. Subs not used: Spiess, Waite, Bencherif, Tempest.Notts County line-up
: Russ, Connolly, Buchanan, Welsh (Mousinho, 85), Huntington, Wright (Robertson, 46), Holmes, Wroe, Beavon, Garner (Cummins, 78), Hayhuirst: Subs not used: Stuckmann, Keane, Monakana, Beardsley.PNE line-up
: 3,587 (368 away fans)Attendance
: Mr M RussellReferee