After Tuesday night’s 3-0 defeat at Ashton United, Blyth Spartans manager Tom Wade was left frustrated by his side’s inability to match the home side in terms of combativeness.
“We didn’t win the battle,” he said.
“Too many of our players weren’t up for the fight.
“We needed more of them willing to put their foot in and to work hard.
“Ashton worked harder than we did and it showed.
“The players have to realise it’s not pre-season anymore. This is a hard league and some lads need to adjust to how competitive it is.
“Our attitude has to be better and our strength too. If we don’t graft, we’ll have problems.”
Ashton took the lead after 13 minutes when Blyth defender Ian Watson put through his own goal.
Wade said: “It was down to poor marking really. The ball crossed the face of the goal and was going out of play but Busted [Watson], unfortunately, made contact and the ball ended up in the bottom corner.”
Ashton’s lead was extended ten minutes before half-time when Richard Bennett crashed the ball high into the Blyth net.
“Nathan Buddle was shoulder charged out of the way by Bennett, it was no foul,” said Wade.
“But once his initial shot had rebounded off the crossbar we should have had someone on him to stop his second effort going in.
“Starting the second half two up, Ashton sat back and we couldn’t find that extra yard to damage them.
“We got crosses in but there was not enough presence in the penalty box to make anything of them.”
A second own goal, this time by Blyth’s other full back, Alex Nicholson, after 61 minutes finished the game off.
Wade said: “We battled well against Grantham at the weekend, but we have to battle in every game not just one or two here and there.
“If we don’t battle to get the ball we can’t play the game we want to.
“We’ll work hard on Thursday in training and be up for this weekend’s challenge at Matlock.”
The Blyth boss revealed that Matty Wade, who limped off at Ashton with knee and ankle injuries, could well be out of contention for several weeks.