Steve Harmison was philosophical after Ashington’s 5-2 defeat by neighbours Blyth Spartans at Woodhorn Lane on Friday night.
The Colliers boss felt there were plenty of positives from his side’s display.
He said: “It was a great exercise for us against a good side whose success last year speaks for itself.
“I thought first half we were excellent. We played well and kept the ball well, an aspect in which we have struggled in the games so far.
“After the break we didn’t do as well, and when you do that against a very competent side like Blyth, they will punish you, and that’s what happened.
“I’m not going to beat myself up about the result and I have told the players they have done some good things compared to what they did against Ashington Colliers, Whickham and Alnwick Town, so I am pleased.
“Things that we are striving to get better at like decision making and making sure we keep the ball well and the level of fitness which we need for the start of the season, all of that will improve as the games come thicker and faster.
“Our programme included three games against teams playing at a higher standard than us where we would have to work hard as a group, as well as matches against teams below us, whilst the last clash of pre-season (away to Brigg Town) is against a team of the same standard as ourselves.
“First half against Blyth we were very good and we caused them a lot of problems. In the second period, we were against the wind and as well as making changes we have also got some new players who are getting used to each other.
“However all in all, I’m not too disappointed. It’s good to play against Blyth and in front of a decent crowd.
“It was a worthwhile exercise all round and hopefully both outfits will have good seasons.”