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League One

Notts County manager Shaun Derry shocked by Walsall hammering

25 January 2014

Notts County boss Shaun Derry admitted his side took a huge backwards step in his reign after they were thrashed 5-1 at home to Walsall.

Febian Brandy had the matchball sealed before the interval, scoring the perfect hat-trick to open up a three-goal lead.

After the break Andy Butler and Craig Westcarr piled on more misery at Meadow Lane before a late consolation from Callum McGregor.

And Derry, whose side also lost in midweek to end a three-game winning run, admitted County had been second best throughout.

"As a group we are hurting," he said.

"We had a chat about the result and the performance. We have made huge strides recently, but this feels like a huge backwards step. I'm now looking for a reaction because that was a huge blow.

"I said to the players you can go home and point the finger and make excuses but ultimately you get judged on what you do out on the pitch.

"We have to make sure we come in on Monday and not put this defeat at the back of our minds - I don't want that.

"I want us to take stock of what has happened not just in the first half when we threw the game away but also the way we came out for the second half which was so disappointing.

"This is a big learning curve for me and sometimes it has been difficult, but this is difficult in another kind of way. It's important that we don't let it affect our confidence."

The Saddlers are now six games unbeaten and move in the play-off spots in League One with the victory.

And after wracking up five goals away from home for the first time since 1997, boss Dean Smith was all smiles.

"I thought we were outstanding and what gave us our platform was the two central midfielders, who won plenty of second balls," he said.

"It gave us a platform and then we had Febian who was so clinical. We went in at half-time 3-0 up and had other chances as well. We've played some great football and

"Fabs has got the perfect hat-trick - left foot, right foot, and a header.

"He thoroughly deserved it given his performance. Even though the header was diverted in by Dean Leacock it would have been harsh to take the matchball from him which he has been walking around with.

"It was a comprehensive win and we were excellent all round. Some of our attacking play was outstanding and the keeper made some outstanding saves to keep the score down.

"We were a bit wasteful with our finishing but to come away from home and score five was tremendous."

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