Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison saw his side edge through to the next round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup after a late goal from Ben Harmison earned a 2-1 win over Ryhope CW on Tuesday night.
However, the Woodhorn Lane boss, whilst pleased to make progress, was far from ecstatic.
Harmison thought his side were off the pace and without hesitation admitted they have got to be better.
He said: “It was a win and that’s something which we have to keep telling ourselves.
“We have been putting ourselves on the front foot in recent games and then tonight I don’t know whether it was complacency or a bit of tiredness but we have got to be far from happy.
“We tried to give a few of the lads who hadn’t played for a while a chance whilst changing the dynamics a little bit even though we didn’t change the formation, but I didn’t think the performance was up to the standard which the players expect as a team collectively.
“We didn’t do what we have been doing for the last few weeks, which was to play things simple, move the ball quickly and be effective in the final third with good balls into the box – and the big man up front [Ben Harmison] hardly touched the ball.
“To be fair, as a group of players we have come a long way in the last six weeks, but we seemed to be off the pace tonight.
“We won the contest and that is the sign of a side who are on the up and up, yet it must have been an awful game to watch.
“I personally didn’t get any enjoyment out of it, and looking at the reaction of the players after the game I think they felt the same way.
“The positive is that we got through and it keeps the unbeaten run going, but we have got to be better.”
Ben Harmison netted his seventh goal in as many matches and the boss added: “We ask a lot of Ben but we didn’t use him anywhere near as much as we wanted, and you could see his frustration during the game.”
For Saturday’s trip to Jarrow Roofing, Ben Richardson, Craig Scott, Ryan Bell, James Taylor, Damien Stevens and Scott Blandford are all ruled out, but Lee McAndrew could return to the squad following injury.”