A first goal of the season from Shola Ameobi and a Jorge Grant screamer were enough to gift Notts County a huge three points against fellow strugglers Hartlepool.

Ameobi scored just two minutes after the break before George Grant doubled the lead on 70 minutes to condemn Hartlepool to their sixth successive away defeat.

Nathan Thomas pulled a goal back for the visitors in bizarre fashion to give the travelling fans some hope but it wasn’t enough.

Notts lined up 4-4-2, making two changes from last week’s miserable 3-0 defeat away at Stevenage, with defenders Matt Tootle and Richard Duffy and winger Jonathan Forte coming into the XI, with Duffy skippering the side.

Notts started the game brightly and nearly opened the scoring on 10 minutes but Mark Yeates’ shot from a tight angle was blocked by Pools’ keeper Joe Fryer.

On 25 minutes, the home fans felt they should have had a penalty when Grant went down under a Hartlepool challenge but referee Darren Deadman waved it away.

On 28 minutes, they did get their penalty when Nathan Thomas was penalised for a handball in a congested penalty area.

Shola Ameobi stepped up but saw his effort tipped onto the post by Joe Fryer and away to safety.

The away side then grew into the game with a lot more possession, but they failed to carve out any real chances and it was goalless at the break.

Notts broke the deadlock just two minutes into the second half when Jorge Grant slipped in a through ball for Shola Ameobi who went one-on-one and slotted it past Fryer in goal.

It was the easiest of chances for the ex-Newcastle man and he made amends for his earlier penalty miss.

The Pools’ then had a chance to equalise through Rhys Oates but he failed to connect with a bicycle kick and it was easily gathered by Collin in goal.

On 70 minutes, Notts went two ahead thanks to a sublime strike from Grant.

Hartlepool didn’t fully deal with a corner and the ball fell to Grant, who hit one into the top-left hand corner from 20 yards to give the home side a bit of breathing space. That was goal number three for Grant since his loan move from Nottingham Forest in January and it proved to be the winner.

With 11 minutes to go, Hartlepool pulled one back when Nathan Thomas’ shot was blocked on the line by Richard Duffy but the ball rebounded out into a crowded area and hit a body before the ball trickled into the net.

It was then backs against the wall for the hosts as the visitors piled on the pressure and Kevin Nolan brought on his old team-mate Alan Smith to sure up the defensive capabilities.

Jorge Grant was given a standing ovation from the home crowd as he made way in the dying seconds for Adam Campbell.

In stoppage time Hartlepool defender Liam Donnelly volleyed one from the edge of the area but Adam Collin made the save.

But Nolan’s side held on for the win that lifts Notts County above Hartlepool and eight points clear of safety after a huge win.

Alex Storey

Attendance: 8653 (427)

Feature image credit: Pommes104

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