Notts County 0 PNE 1
Substitute Iain Hume was the second half heo as he converted Scott Laird's fifth assist of the season with 16 minutes left to give North End another priceless three points on the road at Meadow Lane.
The first half was an ill-tempered affair with both sides trading a pair of bookings, with referee Scott Mathieson the busiest man of the opening 45 minutes.
The better of chances and possession came the way of the Lilywhites, who were unchanged from their previous two games; whilst the home side made wholesale changes, with Chris Kiwomya moving five in and five out, including Fabian Spiess, a 19-year-old German keeper making his league debut.
North End, in yellow, started brightly and it took a great tackle from Gary Liddle to deny Stuart Beavon a chance to open the scoring after three minutes; making a saving tackle after one-two between the No.10 and Kevin Davies.
The Magpies first chance came on 11 minutes as Greg Tempest shot from 20 yards, Declan Rudd having to palm the ball around post after being unsighted.
North End’s chances continued as a flashing header from Beavon from Scott Laird’s left wing cross went just over after good exchange of play starting in left back position.
Keith Keane then had a great chance. Chris Humphrey’s pace saw him head down the right and cross, the ball was headed out to edge of box where Keane on the run fired hard, but over Spiess’ bar.
With just over half an hour gone Beavon picked up the ball from a mistake by home skipper Gary Liddle, he fired in a shot from 25 yards which Spiess tipped around the post for corner.
The home side started the second half brightly and on loan Celtic man Callum McGregor had a good chance to add to his nine goals this season when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box, but he couldn’t keep the ball down on 49 minutes.
Three minutes later the same man saw a shot blocked by Tom Clarke to give the Magpies a corner before from the Scotsman’s ball in Haynes was denied by Declan Rudd as he tried to scramble the ball home from close range.
A double change up front saw Hume and Garner on for Davies and Beavon just after the hour mark for the Lilywhites.
Josh Brownhill almost doubled his away goals tally on 69 minutes when he collected Iain Hume’s lay off to close down on Spiess. The keeper did well to block and Hume’s follow up was deflected wide for a corner; from which Scott Laird flashed a header just over.
North End took the lead on 74 minutes. A brilliant ball from John Welsh from the centre circle whipped the ball out left to Scott Laird, who beat his full back and fired a ball low into the box to where Iain Hume was free to fire home from 12 yards out, before running across to celebrate with the 901 North End fans who had made the trip.
An Iain Hume free kick from 19 yards out on 83 minutes almost made it two after Joe Garner has been tripped on the edge of the box as he looked to bear down on Spiess’ goal.
Three minutes of time was added on at the end, but North End held on for the win.
Notts County line-up: Spiess, Dumbuya, Sheehan, Liddle, McGregor, Haynes, Coombes (Haber, 74), Labadie (Murray, 84), Thompson, Tempest (Bell, 71), Boucaud. Subs not used: Pilkington, Campbell-Ryce, Fotheringham, Holt.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Keane, Laird, Huntington, Clarke, Wright, Humphrey, K Davies (Hume, 63), Beavon (Garner, 63), Welsh, Brownhill (Byrom, 90). Subs not used: Stukckmann, Holmes, Buchanan, Mousinho.
Referee: Mr S Mathieson
Attendance: 4,956 (901 away fans)