Ashington head coach Ian Skinner questioned the belief of some of his players after a comprehensive 3-1 defeat to local rivals North shields on Saturday.
Skinner also described the opening 45 minutes as being ‘unacceptable’.
The Wansbeck side went into the contest on the back of three wins and a defeat from their last four outings, but they were on the back foot early in the game as Peter Glen-Ravenhill and ex-Colliers striker Gareth Bainbridge netted inside the opening 20 minutes:.
“I’m pleased we don’t have to go back to the Daren Persson Stadium again this season if I’m honest,” said a disgruntled Skinner.
“We have been there three times this term and I think we have delivered three disappointing performances.
“The first half display was just not acceptable. I thought we gave North Shields far too much respect, far too much time on the ball and we made it easy for them.
“On top of that, we didn’t do the basics and made really, really poor individual errors, which resulted in goals.
“We said before we left the dressing room that if we did not work hard we’d get nothing because North Shields are very well organised and work hard for each other.
“But I think one or two of our players need to have a little look at themselves because I’m not sure that everyone has worked as hard as they could.
“We made two substitutions at half-time – one [Kyle Downey for Andrew Johnson] was enforced through injury, the other [Scott Gunn for James Taylor] was to try and change things a little bit.
“We also altered the shape trying to play with three up front and matching the North Shields three in midfield.
“We tried to cause them problems and for the first five minutes I thought we were OK without really creating anything, then we go and shoot ourselves in the foot again as we conceded a terrible goal.
“We allowed far too much space down the flank, the cross comes over and Gaz Bainbridge, who is in good form, stuck the ball in the net to make it 3-0, and then I’m then looking around for a reaction.
“We had to sacrifice our principals a little bit in terms of the fact we were 3-0 down with a bit of a wind blowing on our backs.
“We had to go back to front as quick as we could, and a little bit of that was to try and get higher up the pitch, and we put Ben Harmison on and had to try and put the ball up there.
“For one thing, it’s going to get us higher up the pitch and we needed to squeeze in behind them and hope we could get something and look for Andrew Bulford and Damien Stevens to play off Ben.
“And it worked, with Ben playing a lovely ball through to Damien who has finished across the keeper and into the far corner.
“But if I’m being honest, when we scored, although Bulford sprinted to get the ball, I looked around the team but still didn’t see too many people who believed that we could go on and get another goal and make it interesting.
“We put some balls up there and tried to exert some pressure, but I can’t remember testing the keeper or hitting the target.
“Again, it’s as if we have gone two steps forward and three back.
“Working hard with commitment, we beat West Allotment Celtic and Newton Aycliffe, and although we went down 1-0 at Bishop Auckland, we deserved something.
“We were ruthless and professional in the 10-1 rout against Aycliffe at home, but I can’t say anything along those lines about today’s showing.
“The bare minimum you need is to work hard and we had a good few players on that pitch who haven’t worked hard enough, and that’s why we got the result we deserved, being beaten comprehensively.”
The two sides will meet each other on Tuesday, April 7, at Woodhorn Lane in the corresponding league fixture.