Kevin Nolan made three changes to the team that faced Cambridge in midweek. Carl Dickinson came in for Dan Jones at left back, Terry Hawkridge replaced Liam Noble and Grant made way for Ameobi.
Luke Amos found the side-netting with a shot before Ben Hall lobbed an effort over the bar as the sides exchanged early blows on a bitterly cold February afternoon. A hat-trick of shooting opportunities followed for the visitors, Ben Kennedy rolling a low effort straight at Adam Collin and Hall blocking John Goddard’s effort before the same player saw his strike palmed away by the Notts stopper. Notts’ next glimpse at goal came on 25 minutes when Elliott Hewitt leapt to meet Hawkridge’s cross, looping his header on to the roof of the Stevenage net. Jonathan Smith fired a shot wide, Goddard saw a 20-yard shot saved by Collin and Stead volleyed Tootle’s cross over as both sides continued their pursuit of the elusive opening goal. But there was to be no breakthrough in the opening period as, after Joe Martin was booked for a foul on Stead and the injured Kennedy hobbled off for Ben Sheaf, the referee called time on the first half.
There were no Notts changes at the break and Jon Stead had an early opportunity to break the deadlock, forcing Tom King into a save low down with a left-footed effort from 20 yards. Dickinson then saw a 30-yard effort blocked by a defender and Hawkridge headed the ball straight at King as Notts began to ramp up the pressure on the visitors. Grant replaced Alessandra before Husin, earlier booked for a foul on Smith, came off for Noble with 20 minutes to play. Notts were looking the more likely side to score but Stevenage passed up a terrific opportunity when the ball dropped nicely for Smith, who could only volley it straight at Collin from inside the area. Hawkridge nearly made Stevenage pay in unorthadox fashion shortly afterwards when his overhit cross nearly caught King out, the keeper having to push the ball behind at his post. But, on 77 minutes, the game finally had its first goal when Richard Duffy did well to keep the ball alive in the area following a corner, giving Grant the chance to coolly slot the ball into the bottom corner, three minutes later, Notts’ lead was doubled when Hall flicked on a free-kick and Ameobi was able to beat the keeper to the ball before smashing it home. Ameobi was replaced by Alan Smith as the clock ticked down. But three minutes of added time brought no further action as Notts secured an important three points.
Notts County: Collin, Tootle, Duffy, Hall, Dickinson, Alessandra (Grant 65), Husin (Noble 69), Hewitt, Hawkridge, Ameobi (Smith 82), Stead.
Stevenage: King T, vanCouten, Wilmot, King J, martin, Amos, Smith (White 79), McKee, Goddard, Kennedy (Sheaf 47), Newton.