The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Leigh Cur­tis To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­

SHAUN Derry paid an emo­tional trib­ute to his play­ers for com­plet­ing one of the great­est escapes in Notts County’s his­tory in a day of high drama at Old­ham.

The Mag­pies scrapped to the point they needed to se­cure their League One sta­tus for an­other sea­son as Alan Shee­han’s penalty can­celled out a sec­ond-half header from Adam Lock­wood – who was later sent off.

There were in­cred­i­ble scenes at the fi­nal whis­tle as Derry punched the air in de­light at seal­ing a re­mark­able turn­around.

The club were seven points adrift of safety in March, but Derry has in­spired a stun­ning run of form to guide the club out of the bot­tom four.

But the for­mer QPR mid­fielder praised his play­ers for the way they have ral­lied in the face of ex­treme pres­sure.

“I want the play­ers to go and re­ally en­joy this feel­ing but I cer­tainly don’t want to go through it again be­cause it was hor­ri­ble,” he said.

“I couldn’t be prouder of them and for what they have achieved be­cause people had writ­ten us off but I al­ways had be­lief in them.

“I had to tell them they were let­ting them­selves down at half-time and I told them to re­group and show ev­ery­body what they are ca­pa­ble of.

“These last four or five months I’ve al­ways viewed our sit­u­a­tion as try­ing to get pro­moted into League One rather than go­ing down.

“They gave me an un­be­liev­able re­sponse and it took some guts too be­cause we went be­hind.

“For six min­utes we were star­ing rel­e­ga­tion in the face but the team I had out there I knew we would not give up.

“We didn’t and the scenes at the end were very, very spe­cial.”

In the 68th minute Old­ham struck a de­ci­sive blow. A free-kick into the box from Gary Harkins was met by Lock­wood whose header sailed over Bar­tosz Bialkowski. With re­sults go­ing against them, Notts had a foot in League Two un­til they sum­moned an equaliser in the 75th minute.

Great work by Ja­mal Camp­bell-Ryce saw him skip down the right and his cross was han­dled by Lock­wood.

Shee­han took re­spon­si­bil­ity for the kick and he lashed it into the roof of the net be­fore he em­barked on a crazy cel­e­bra­tion with the fans.

The away end erupted, but there was more drama to come when Lock­wood was given a red card for haul­ing James Spencer to the ground.

And once the fi­nal whis­tle went, fans streamed onto the pitch to cel­e­brate a re­mark­able es­cape.

“A fan­tas­tic run of form re­ally dug us right out of trou­ble along with a good spirit,” said Old­ham boss Lee John­son.

“It was a de­cent per­for­mance. We were rea­son­ably flu­ent at times in our foot­ball and that was down to the fact we were not un­der the pres­sure to go and win.

“If there is one real les­son from our sea­son it is who is go­ing to score the sec­ond goal? We re­ally have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity as a team, not just as in­di­vid­u­als.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd


OWSKI Old­ham MERRY DERRY: Shaun Derry, right, cel­e­brates af­ter Notts’ sur­vival is con­firmed. Be­low: Alan Shee­han scores from the spot

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