Ashington FC boss Steve Harmison was full of admiration for his side after they put five past a youthful Hartlepool United XI at Woodhorn Lane on Monday night.
He said: “It was a very good win but for me it’s not about results, it’s about the way our game gets better and better.
“I thought we improved tonight against a young Hartlepool side who have got some good players.
“From my ex-profession, I love watching young kids try to make themselves better, and although the scoreline was 5-0, I thought the Hartlepool lads played some good football.
“They are a full-time club and the players were fit, and that was the challenge I gave my squad.
“I said to them, ‘These lads are going to be hungry and energised and we are going to have to play really well to impose ourselves on them’.
“We did that and Hartlepool were probably a tad unlucky that they caught us on a night when everything went for us.
“We got a little bit of luck but I thought the lads played really, really well, and it’s been coming.
“We started slowly and sluggishly against Whickham and Alnwick then had a great first half against Blyth before we let ourselves down a little bit with our decision making. But tonight the way we performed was excellent.
“Potentially we have got a situation where Dylan Armstrong may be going to America, which would be a crying shame for us. I know he was playing against his former club tonight but I thought Dylan was excellent along with Jonny Quinn with the link up play between the two of them spot on.
“Quinn has been on trial at clubs and wants to try and make a name for himself in the full-time game.
“There are people out there watching and he is not doing himself any harm by the way he is performing.
“I thought offensively we were excellent but defensively we were good as well.
“We were better at protecting and looking after each other, which probably hasn’t been the case in recent weeks, and we’ve done the simple things well and that’s all I can ask for.
“Not only did the lads merit the win but they deserved a lot of credit for the way they performed because I think we have been critical of them in the last two weeks.
“There was some good build up play for the goals. Kyle Oliver’s opener was fantastic and that’s what we want, for him to score goals from left back, but for him to notch two was an added bonus.
“We got minutes into everybody again but in friendlies we are looking for plus points, and there were a lot tonight.
“We go to Ryton on Friday and then host the Preston game on Wednesday, July 29, which will be a great occasion for everybody before the away trip to face Brigg.
“Ultimately, our goal is to get better and better in time to start our league campaign on August 8 – and tonight they have performed as well as I have seen an Ashington side play.”