Harry Maguire's second-half header gave Sheffield United a 2-1 victory and David Weir his first win as Blades manager as the curtain raised on the 2013/14 Sky Bet Football League season.
The game was one of six special anniversary fixtures to commemorate the Football League's 125th year, with Notts County being the oldest professional club and Bramall Lane being the oldest professional ground still in use.
But it was a new-look Sheffield United, playing under rookie boss Weir, that were the better side and they were already on top by the time County's Gary Liddle was shown a straight red card when he was penalised for a high challenge on Kevin McDonald in the 13th minute.
McDonald made the numerical advantage count on the half-hour when he tucked home from 16 yards following good work down the right by Febian Brandy.
The Blades were in control but were stunned just before the hour mark when substitute Enoch Showunmi scored with his first touch, slotting in calmly from 20 yards.
But Notts County's joy was short-lived as Maguire headed home a free-kick at the far post, with the hosts missing a string of late chances to make the victory even sweeter.