Cheltenham Town secured a first Sky Bet League Two victory in nine matches and extended their unbeaten run to five games as a Luke Varney brace and Tyrone Barnett’s late third saw off Notts County.
Varney scored his third and fourth goals since arriving at the end of September to hand Michael Duff a first league victory in charge, as the Robins moved out of the drop zone.
The 36-year-old first met an inch perfect Ryan Broom cross to head home unmarked ten minutes before the interval.
His second was similarly well worked, as Chris Hussey’s clever low driven corner was swept under the goalkeeper and into the middle of the net after 66 minutes – registering his second brace in a Cheltenham shirt.
Late on Barnett added a third when Broom crossed again, prodding into the far corner after 87 minutes to round off a perfect afternoon.
Duff made two changes to the side that started in Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy victory over Coventry City, as Kelsey Mooney and Tom Field dropped out for Varney and Hussey.
With both teams lining up in similar formations, it was Duff’s side who threatened in the early stages by trying to impose their game on the manager-less hosts with a series of Ben Tozer long-throws and crosses.
With little in the way of clear-cut chances after a quarter of an hour, Notts were enjoying their best spell of play down the left with Dan Jones delivering some teasing crosses but Scott Flinders was on hand to deal with them.
A surprise break for defender Jamie Turley led to the first shot on goal as Flinders clawed his cross-shot away before the Robins defence scrambled clear.
Enzio Boldewijn was next to try his luck, cutting in from the right and unleashing a strike which flew high and wide of the goal as the home crowd grew impatient and their frustrations were soon set to increase.
Cheltenham broke down the right as Nigel Atangana played a clever one-two with Broom and the Welshman picked out Varney with a pin-point cross for the experienced striker to cushion a header into the top corner.
Varney, who scored a brace on his full debut against Morecambe last month, was close to adding a second as his header from a Hussey set-piece hit the ground and bounced into Ross Fitzsimons’ arms.
It was then nearly two as the former Premier League forward then exchanged passes with Maddox in first half added time and the latter played Hussey through on goal, but his low effort was saved well down to the left by Fitzsimons.
An early flurry of second half chances ensured a much better start than the first, as the Magpies headed over before Maddox and Hussey saw dangerous low crosses cleared.
The match settled down again until the hour mark, where Robert Milsom fired well off target from distance – as Cheltenham continued to press very well at the Kop End.
But the second goal was soon to arrive as Hussey’s low corner was not anticipated by Steve Chettle’s men and Varney was on hand to smash in his second, sending the 290 strong travelling fans wild.
Atangana found Broom, who then picked up another assist for Barnett to net his second goal since arriving in Gloucestershire – who prodded home from close range to consolidate a brilliant three points for Duff’s men.
NOTTS COUNTY (3-5-2): Fitzsimons (GK), Duffy ©, Dennis, Thomas (Kellett 54), Boldewijn, Brisley, Hawkridge (Patching 68), Davies, Jones (Evina 74), Milsom, Turley.
Subs not used: Pindroch (GK), Vaughan, Ward, Dunn.
ROBINS (3-5-2): Flinders (GK), Forster, Tozer ©, Boyle, Hussey, Broom, Atangana, Thomas, Maddox (Clements 85), Varney (Jones 90), Barnett.
Subs not used: Lovett (GK), Addai, Field, Mooney, Alcock.
REFEREE: D Drysdale
ATTENDANCE: 6109 (290 from Cheltenham)