Craig Short pays tribute to top finisher Hughes

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What a difference seven days makes.

After the disappointment of playing well against Charlton but losing at the Valley, a week later several of Notts County’s players turned in excellent performances, as they combined to earn a 3-2 victory over Leyton Orient at Meadow Lane. 

Undoubtedly the star of the show was Lee Hughes, who scored either side of Craig Westcarr’s goal on his 50th appearance for the Magpies.

Hughes now has 36 goals to his name for the club, and is aiming for a career landmark 50 before the season is out. He stated: “I'd love to get to 50 this season. I will be very proud if I do." 

Hughes was pleased to make up for missing several chances in the Charlton game, adding: “It was nice to come back and score twice, which is what I aimed to do.

"I wasn't even thinking of the chances I'd missed. I am always going to miss chances but I will always aim to bounce back and take the next chance I get."

The Notts manager, Craig Short, was full of praise for his star striker: "Hughes is always in the right areas.

"He is one of the best finishers I've seen. It didn't surprise me him scoring two because I know if he gets chances he will take them." 

However, it was not all about Hughes, as Notts survived a fight back by Orient to record their third successive home league win.

In doubling the lead established by Hughes’ opening goal, Craig Westcarr continued his fine start to the season. He is now County’s joint-top scorer, along with Ben Davies, with four goals so far in the current campaign. 

Alan Judge, the Republic of Ireland Under 21 international on loan from Blackburn Rovers, impressed with his energy and confidence on debut, when he came on as a second half substitute, and will no doubt now endeavour to force his way into the starting 11.

Also looking incredibly assured playing in League One for the first time was midfielder Neal Bishop, who engineered Hughes’ second goal by delivering a superb pass for adventuring defender John Thompson to get onto in the penalty area, before he, in turn, confidently slid the ball across the goal for Hughes to score. 

Short acknowledged the determination shown by his team in grinding out the result. He said: "It's a satisfying win.

"We were not at our best, but we won the game, which is all-important. I'm not pleased with us conceding two goals, but we showed a lot of character to win the game. 

“I thought Graeme Lee was outstanding again, he has been the most consistent performer since I've been here. Jon Harley was good too, and Alan Judge gave us a lift when he came on in the second half.

"Thommo (John Thompson) was great defending and had a hand in the winning goal. Craig (Westcarr) is doing really well. We give him and Ben Davies licence to roam and he's always a threat." 

Since putting the opening day defeat against Huddersfield Town behind them, the Magpies are now gathering momentum at Meadow Lane, in a manner reminiscent of last season when Accrington were the only team to leave victorious.

The fans will be hoping that County can again use this impressive home form to build a challenge for promotion. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association. 


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