Derby County’s preparations for the 2014/15 Championship season continued with a 3-1 win at League 1 Notts County on Saturday afternoon.
Striker Chris Martin got on the scoresheet for the first time during pre-season in emphatic fashion, as he hit a hat-trick to help Derby come back from behind at Meadow Lane.
He cancelled out Trialist 2’s opener for the home just before half-time and went on to score from the penalty spot just after the break, before completing his hat-trick late on with a superb finish.
It proved to be another worthwhile workout for Derby, who head off to Austria tomorrow for a six-day training camp with the season’s opener against Rotherham United only three weeks away.
Head Coach Steve McClaren handed a first appearance to defender Cyrus Christie following his arrival from Coventry City in the game, while influential midfielder Craig Bryson returned to the starting line-up following a three-match absence with a knee injury.
George Thorne, who sealed his permanent move from West Bromwich Albion earlier in the day, wasn’t involved while midfielder Paul Coutts (hip flexor) and defender Zak Whitbread (back) were absent from the squad.
Christie spoke of his desire to make an immediate impact after joining Derby last week, and the full-back did exactly that inside the opening 120 seconds.
He burst forwards from defence, beating three Magpies players in the process and crossed towards Simon Dawkins at the far post, who saw his shot beaten away by Notts goalkeeper Fabian Spiess for a corner.
In the driving Nottinghamshire rain, clear chances proved to be few and far between in the opening exchanges although Derby enjoyed plenty of possession and worked themselves into a number of good attacking positions.
Both sides tried their luck with speculative shots from distance, before the home side took the lead on 29 minutes.
Trialist 2 won possession of the ball from Derby defender Richard Keogh and burst into the box to unleash a powerful shot into the net, in off the underside of the crossbar, past the stranded Kelle Roos.
Derby responded well and after Hendrick dragged a shot wide from distance, they were back on level terms six minutes before the break.
Johnny Russell played a superb through-ball to Martin inside the box, and he made no mistake with a confident finish past Spiess for his first pre-season goal.
Keogh saw a header drift wide two minutes later and Dawkins drew a good save from Spiess as Derby ended the half strongly.
They came out the traps quickly in the second half and were awarded a penalty on 52 minutes after Dawkins was fouled, leaving Martin to keep his cool from the spot.
Hendrick dragged a shot wide inside the box following a cross from Forsyth as Derby began to dominate the game.
Their dominance saw Martin complete his hat-trick on 76 minutes as he thundered home a superb right-foot finish from Hendrick’s cut-back.
A fourth goal could have followed soon afterwards, but home goalkeeper Spiess made a fine save keep out Keogh’s effort from a Russell corner and Forsyth also hit the post with a header.
Both sides made a number of changes throughout the second half, which slightly effected the tempo to the game, but in the end it proved to be another positive afternoon’s work for McClaren’s Rams.
Notts County: Spiess, Dixon, Adams, Smith, Mullins, Hollis, Ismail, Noble, Trialist 1, Trialist 2, Trialist 3.
Substitutes: Andrews, McKenzie, Murray, Wroe, Waite, Trialist 4, Balmy, Keane, Tempest, McGowan.
Derby County: Roos, Christie (Toure 53), Forsyth (L Naylor 86), Bryson (Eustace 53), Buxton, Keogh (O’Brien 86), Dawkins (Ward 65), Hendrick (Hanson 80), Martin (Freeman 86), Hughes (Sammon 71), Russell.
Substitutes Not Used: Etheridge.
Attendance: 3,235, 1,742 Derby County fans.