Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison was left mystified on Saturday after his side tasted their third league defeat in four outings.
They lost by the odd goal in three against Sunderland RCA.
He said: “Naturally I’m disappointed and it’s a difficult one to take.
“There are only so many times I can say the work rate and effort was there but we are getting sick of saying the same things.
“The quality of the pass is missing and we are not doing the simple things well, which puts our back four under pressure and they are being constantly put to the test because we keep giving the ball away.
“I didn’t think we deserved a point, yet neither did I believe we deserved to get beat.
“We have conceded a few goals because we are not comfortable playing a game of football in the final third.
“It actually looks as if there is not a lot of direction but we are working on that and it’s just not happening with things going against us.
“I didn’t think there was much in the game, to be honest. We made a couple of mistakes, one near the end, but I’m not going to criticise it.
“Reece [Farrell] has come in for his first Northern League game because of the personnel we had available to us, Scott Blandford and Ben Harmison were both ruled out, and we’d had preferred to drip feed Reece in.
“But we had to shove him straight in and it was one of those games where we didn’t show enough quality on the ball throughout the pitch to give ourselves a good chance of winning the game.
“They [RCA] played it long but we couldn’t really do that because of the personnel we had, so we had to try and build it up.
“We were always giving the ball away and it just wasn’t good enough.
“It was as simple as that, but I’m sick of saying that. We need reinforcements and we need a little bit more quality.”
Harmison felt aggrieved by the award of a spot kick on the half hour which led to RCA breaking the deadlock, but overall could not hide his disappointment in his outfit.
“In my eyes it was never a penalty,” he said.
“However, even though we had a couple of players missing, we still had more than enough on that pitch to have given a better account of ourselves than we did.”