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League One

Shaun Derry's 'leaders' come to the fore

3 May 2014

Shaun Derry praised the spirit of his players after Notts County ended their campaign with a 1-1 draw at Oldham Athletic and avoided relegation to Sky Bet League 2.

A late-season surge brought 19 points out of 27 for Derry's side, who finished one place above the relegation zone.

As it turned out, Tranmere's home defeat against Bradford meant County were guaranteed safety no matter what the result at Boundary Park.

But they came from behind thanks to Alan Sheehan's penalty against an Oldham side who ended the game with 10 men.

Oldham made the majority of chances before taking a 68th-minute lead when Adam Lockwood headed in a Gary Harkins free-kick.

County could have gone further behind, but Sheehan drilled in from the spot after 75 minutes after Oldham defender Jonathan Grounds was penalised for handling Jamal Campbell-Ryce's cross.

Oldham soon had Lockwood sent off for his second yellow card and it was the visitors who went closest to snatching a late victory.

Derry said: "A lot of people have been fantastic since I came here a few months ago and I want to thank them all.

"I want the players to enjoy this but, at the same time, I don't want to be in this position again next season.

"When I first came here I was looking around for leaders and, to be honest, I didn't see many of them.

"Gradually over time, more and more people with those qualities have started coming to the front.

"At half-time I told the players to forget the magnitude of the game and just prove what they could do.

"They gave me a brilliant response and it took guts to come from behind for the point we needed.

"Even at 1-0 down I knew we weren't beaten. I knew they would respond.

"It's fitting that Alan Sheehan got the goal and now we can look forward as a football club."

Oldham boss Lee Johnson is already looking ahead to the next campaign after seeing his team end in mid-table with a 10-match unbeaten run.

Johnson said: "I wanted a season of progression and, although it wasn't an outstanding success, I think we achieved that.

"Next year we will be more experienced as a team and more experienced as a coaching staff after a full season in the job.

"There was a spell when things didn't go well for us, but there were circumstances behind that and I always felt confident that results would pick up when our injuries cleared.

"I knew we were good enough and I want the supporters to stick with us and trust us so that we can continue our progression.

"There are lessons to be learned from this season, especially that we need to take responsibility for scoring a second goal when we get ourselves in front.

"One or two players will leave and it's looking 99 per cent sure that we'll lose Jonathan Grounds, but we are already looking at who will strengthen us as a club."

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