Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison could not hide his disappointment after watching his outfit go down 3-1 in their opening match of the season at Washington on Saturday.
The boss knew his side had not performed but could not explain the reason behind it.
“Whether it was first game nerves I don’t know, but we just did not play and it was very disappointing,” he said.
“I cannot put my finger on what happened. We have had some high intensity and high profile friendlies on good pitches and we wanted the players to express themselves and play.
“But we just did not do the basics of football, and if you don’t do that then you can’t expect to get entry into the game.
“For the first 15 to 20 minutes we soaked up quite a bit of Washington pressure. The gusto of them being promoted as a new team in the league.
“They were excellent and are a good side who are very powerful and got a bit of pace.
“But as much as their front three in the first half were a handful, I didn’t think we were too bad defensively.
“We kept giving the ball away in silly areas and not putting the onus on people being brave to play, and that was the thing which disappointed me because we have got some smashing footballers that are technically very, very good.
“It’s a hard one to take because I know how good my players are, and they are better than what they produced.
“They are all disappointed and I have let them know my thoughts, but we have got to be switched on when it comes to soaking up pressure.
“We had a good chance early on and their keeper made a good save, and if that had gone in you never know what might have happened.
“We didn’t show the good things which we did in pre-season and that was disappointing.
“At half-time one-nil down, the consolation for us was that we were still in the game.
“We stared the second half brighter, with a bit of fight, and then we stopped and panicked a little bit. We have got to realise – and I keep drumming it into the players – that the game lasts for 90 minutes.
“Once the second goal went in we crumbled a little bit, but there are no excuses. We were poor and we got what we deserved.
“The man on the ball needs options but we didn’t give him any. We did a few good things, but not many.
“The positive to come out of Saturday is that the season has started and we are playing meaningful games, but in our first outing we just didn’t perform.”