Ashington manager Gary Middleton was pragmatic in his post-match assessment after seeing Dunston claim a thoroughly deserved 4-2 victory on Saturday.
The Woodhorn Lane boss was disappointed but acknowledged his outfit were outshone by the visitors.
“I thought we were second best in all departments from the start right the way through to the finish,” he said.
“I didn’t think we got close to Dunston and we sat off them, which wasn’t the game plan.
“The intention was to press them high and put them under pressure, but the players did the total reverse.
“My lads were sitting ten yards off them for the whole of the first half – and any team would have looked good against us.
“We made a very hard-working and effective Dunston team look like a very good footballing team because of the way we played.”
Glen Taylor’s strike midway through the second period gave Ashington hope.
But within ten minutes Dunston had made it 4-1 in what Middleton described as being a ‘very much below par display’ by his outfit.
He added: “We had words at half-time, but we could only go one way and we couldn’t be as bad in the second period as we had been in the first.
“The players had a bit of a go after the break - but defensively the amount of times the ball has come into our box and they have won the header to either score or create something was a concern.
“At 2-1 there was a little bit of momentum, but it only lasted four minutes.
“It was very much a below par performance and not what’s expected.
“We have a free midweek which will allow us to get two training sessions under our belt, and I’m happy with that.”