The former Bolton man netted in the 74th minute, his ninth goal of the season, prompting praise from manager Hughton.
"We've been able to keep clean sheets - that was our ninth of the season - and we have a goalscorer in Kevin Nolan," Hughton said.
"It was heading for a 0-0 and Kevin has the knack of getting in the right places at the right time.
"He has that composure and he scored goals at Bolton.
"We took him last season after he'd had an ankle operation, so he perhaps never got to full fitness last term.
"Kevin can play centre midfield or just off the front man, where he is also an excellent link-up player."