Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton said he was disappointed after his side lost a five-goal thriller to Blyth Spartans at Croft Park on Tuesday night in their Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final replay.
But the Woodhorn Lane boss nevertheless spoke afterwards of being immensely proud after his Ebac Northern League outfit had given Spartans a run for their money before losing 3-2 .
A dejected Middleton said: “To be honest, we should have been 3-1 up at half-time, but Conor Grant, the Blyth keeper, has pulled off two great saves.
“I didn’t think my players deserved defeat.
“They put in a great performance against a very good side who are two leagues above us and I was immensely proud of them.”
The boss reflected on the Blyth goals scored by Nathan Buddle, Ash Davis and a Damen Mullen penalty – after Robbie Dale had missed from the spot during the first half with the Colliers 1-0 up at the time.
“I thought all three goals were poor to concede,” he said.
“The first one from a set piece seems to have hit the lad (Buddle) on the back of the head from where I was looking; we then had three or four opportunities to clear the ball for the second goal and then obviously the penalty – and you cannot afford to give teams two spot kicks in games.
“I’m disappointed to go out.”