The former West Brom star marked his debut with a hat-trick to inspire new-look County to their first opening-day victory for nine years.
Hughes, one of eight summer signings by boss Ian McParland in the starting line-up, had no part to play in the opening goal after 17 minutes as Ben Davies climbed to head in a cross from Luke Rodgers.
The striker then netted two goals in the space of four minutes before half-time.
When Zesh Rehman totally misjudged a long clearance from the back to allow Hughes to go clear, he coolly rounded the goalkeeper to score. And when a fine run and cross by Craig Westcarr opened the
City defence again, Hughes forced the ball in from close range.
His hat-trick was completed on 54 minutes from the penalty spot after the livewire Rodgers had been brought down by Matt Clarke.
Young full-back Brendan Moloney rounded off a totally one-sided contest five minutes from time when he ran through from the back to finish with great composure.