Chesterfield boss Gary Caldwell has questioned his side’s character after they “crumbled” to defeat at Newport County.
The sinking Spireites are now bottom of the Football League following their relegation from League One last term.
“We crumbled,” admitted Caldwell. “We showed no character. We showed no leadership at that point.
“We looked a beaten team when actually at 1-1 the game was still wide open.
“The first goal had too big of an impact on our mentality for the rest of the game.
“The reaction after that first goal is nowhere near good enough.
“We lost belief far too quickly and threw the towel in really.”
Chris O’Grady put Chesterfield in front, but Frank Nouble’s 13-minute hat-trick did the damage.
Padraig Amond popped up late on to add salt to the already gaping wounds.
Caldwell added: “I’ve told the players that last year is behind us, we have to leave that in the past.
“You’d have to ask them how they feel on the pitch.”
The visitors had their fair share of chances and Caldwell has called on his side to put those chances away in future.
The former Wigan boss said: “The way we played in the first 50 minutes they couldn’t get near us.
“We need to be more clinical in the final third and obviously have more of an advantage so their first goal doesn’t impact us as much.”