Blyth Spartans boss Tom Wade was delighted at his side’s character in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Grantham at Croft Park.
He said: “To be honest it was the kind of game we expected. Following our games with them last season we expected some intimidation.
“It doesn’t make for a game full of flowing football but I was pleased with the way our lads stood up to be counted.
“Grantham played very ‘route one’, which was a bit surprising because they have three very good players in midfield.
“It was a great compliment to us that we came out on top in such a physical encounter.
“We couldn’t get on the ball as much as we would have liked so the game was a bit scrappy. We were desperate to get on the ball and maybe that made us a bit nervous early on.”
Blyth took the lead in the first half through a sensational strike from Daniel Maguire.
Wade said: “I doubt he’ll score a better goal. It was brilliantly set up by Robbie Dale’s flick on.
“Nipa [Maguire] was back to his best at the weekend. His overall game was good. He was strong and hungry. In fact he could have easily scored a hat-trick.”
Paul Robinson put the hosts further ahead in the second half before Grantham pulled one back in the dying minutes.
“We were very disappointed to concede, but we switched off for a moment and it cost us,” said Wade.
Goalkeeper Peter Jeffries impressed on his Spartans league début with his decision making and bravery.
Wade added: “We now have three good keepers at the club – Peter, Conor Grant and Niall Harrison.
“But Peter was outstanding on Saturday. He has presence and is a good organiser.”
The Blyth manager now goes in to the game at Ashton on Tuesday with some confidence.
“We didn’t play as well as we can on Saturday,” he said.
“We can play a lot better than that. But we know we can battle and, make no mistake, we will turn teams over.
“We won’t win every game but we know we will compete.”