All Blyth Spartans manager Tom Wade wants for Christmas is a fully fit squad.
Following the brave fight back against Marine on Saturday, Wade revealed that several of his players were carrying knocks during the fixture and that the squad were feeling the strain, something not helped by suspensions to Ash Davis and Arran Wearmouth.
“It’s been a tough week for us,” he said.
“Robbie Dale has missed training with food poisoning, Paul Robinson has been ill, Matty Wade and Lewis Horner have had knocks and obviously then you have the suspensions we have.
“We have had to patch a few lads up and just ask them to do a job, and to their credit they did that. We were brave and we could have edged it near the end.”
As Spartans head into the season of goodwill, Wade was disappointed that his side showed plenty of festive spirit towards their opponents in the opening stages.
Defensive errors and misplaced passes allowed Marine to take a two-goal lead within the opening half an hour.
Wade said he was annoyed with the mistakes but was pleased with the character on display during the second half.
“We gave away two stupid goals and it could have cost us,” he said.
“We didn’t make a quality side like Marine work for their goals, we just gave them away.
“We looked shaky and nervous during the first half and maybe that was a hangover from the FC United of Manchester game.
“To be fair, second half we were much better, Robbo and Robbie looked a threat and whilst in the circumstances we were happy with a point we could have taken all three.”
Dan Maguire was reinstated to his favoured striking role in the absence of the suspended Davis and the decision by Spennymoor Town to recall loanee Sonny Andrews.
The performance of the former Seaton Delaval man drew praise from Wade, as did a sparkling display from captain Dale.
Wade said: “Maguire did well and caused their back four problems on a consistent basis.
“His work rate was top notch and he has really done a job for us.
“For me Robbie Dale was man of the match, he put a real shift in for us and looked dangerous every time he had the ball, and to think he didn’t train all week is remarkable given the way he played.”