Accrington Stanley recorded a club league record ninth consecutive home victory as Mark Hughes struck in the first half to beat Notts County 1-0.
The win keeps Stanley at the top of Sky Bet League Two with an 11-point gap between them and fourth place – with seven games left to play.
The visitors made a quick start, but Stanley scored from their first venture forward, Hughes eventually stroking home following a well-worked short corner routine.
Both sides had their chances, Jonathan Forte rattling the bar for County and Kayden Jackson twice denied by Adam Collin, who kept Notts in the game for long spells – but Stanley dug deep to claim another huge three points in the race for promotion.
John Coleman made two changes from the Good Friday win at Mansfield. There was an EFL, and Accrington Stanley, debut for goalkeeper Jonny Maxted, while Janoi Donacien recovered from illness to start.
The opening exchanges were tight with the wet pitch making life difficult for both sides, Sean McConville had the Reds first sighting of goal, his effort deflecting just wide for a corner.
From that corner Stanley went ahead, the visitors twice failing to clear their lines before skipper Seamus Conneely found defender Hughes unmarked at the back post, to home his fourth goal of the season in just the ninth minute.
Notts County continued to see lots of possession despite the early setback and thought they’d equalised in the 21st minute when Jonathan Forte rattled the bar with a bullet header from close range – a let off for Stanley.
Jackson stung the palms of Adam Collin on the half hour mark, the forward picking up the ball on the edge of the area before shooting. Stanley almost doubled their lead from the corner, a deflection sending the ball goalwards before the outstretched arm of Collin thwarted the Reds once again.
Stanley made a dominant start to the second half and Conneely was denied a goal in successive matches by another fine Collin save with his fingertips, Jackson looked to follow up was adjudged offside as County survived.
Jordan Clark missed a fine chance to extend his sides lead on the hour mark, a smart cut-back by Billy Kee found the winger in the area but he sliced his first time effort wide, before almost instantly Matt Virtue put a free header wide for the visitors – to the relief of all around the Wham Stadium.
But again, the next big chance fell Accrington’s way. Strike partners Kee and Jackson combined well before the latter saw his half volley denied by the sprawling Collin – the second goal would just not come for Stanley.
With less than 10 minutes left substitute Jorge Grant missed a big opportunity to fire County level, a loose ball dropped kindly to him in the box, he took a touch before flashing the shot wide – Notts continued to push but couldn’t breach the resolute Stanley defence.