A HAT-TRICK from Alfie Potter and further goals from Danny Rose and Alex MacDonald saw Mansfield Town inflict a crushing defeat on Newport County AFC at Field Mill last night. Here's what we learned...

1. A rest did County no good at all

While Mansfield were losing at Swindon Town on Saturday, the Exiles were without a game thanks to a waterlogged pitch at Rodney Parade and you would expect the free weekend to work in their favour.

But County looked like they were sleepwalking through the first 20 minutes of the match, while the hosts tore into them with all the hunger and desire that we haven’t seen from Flynn’s men since the first match against Tottenham Hotspur on January 27.

2. The Stags did what everyone expected Spurs to do last week

The Exiles were rightly praised for keeping Tottenham within reach with a battling display at Wembley las week and avoiding a rout, even though Mauricio Pochettino’s team could have scored six if it wasn’t for some wayward finishing and some excellent goalkeeping from Joe Day.

A 5-0 thumping at the home of English football and a 2-0 defeat at Field Mill would have been disappointing but respectable enough but County made Mansfield look like a Champions League side at times and, but for Day, it would have been an even more embarrassing night.

South Wales Argus:

3. Defensive shake-up needed

The County back four have now conceded 10 goals in their last three matches in League Two and it’s surely time to make some changes to shore up the defence.

Mark O’Brien steadied the ship a little when he was brought on for the second half last night and he can count himself very unfortunate if he doesn’t regain his starting spot, probably in a back three, on Saturday. He does, after all, have a good record against Notts County.

4. The Exiles don’t look like a play-off team, at the moment

Successive trips to Lincoln City, Colchester United and Mansfield Town were always going to be a real examination of the team’s promotion credentials and the FA Cup certainly added to the load for County but they have been found wanting in all three matches.

The play-off dream should not be written off just yet – we know from last season what this group of players is capable of when the odds are stacked against them – but for now they must ignore the league table and focus on getting back to winning ways as quickly as possible.

5. The 57 fans deserve a medal, or a refund, or something...

A grand total of 7,200 fans travelled to Wembley last week but their number dwindled to a hardy 57 at the One Call Stadium and every one of them will be waking up this morning asking themselves why they bothered.

What was their reward for a 320-mile round trip to Nottinghamshire on a freezing cold Tuesday night? The club should consider using a fraction of the estimated £900,000 FA Cup windfall to reimburse the Mansfield 57 the cost of their trip and ticket by way of an apology and a thank-you for their loyalty.