Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison was forthright in his assessment after the Colliers had crashed out of the FA Vase on Wednesday night.
His side were beaten 3-0 by current holders North Shields at the Daren Persson Stadium.
Harmison said the crux of the defeat was that the players did not perform.
He said: “It was disappointing. We went into the game with confidence after the way we had played of late and conditions were the same for both sides.
“But we got beat off a team who knew how to play the game of football and who had discipline and men who actually wanted to go and win the game.
“That is a sad thing for me to say because I’m not sure we got anywhere near some of their better players.
“We spoke and gave our players instructions and we were in the right frame of mind to take North Shields on.
“We had a good team out, we had a good warm up, we spoke a lot of good things before the game and had our heads up, but then the players went onto the field with their heads down.
“We asked that if eight or nine players performed we would have a chance of winning the game. If ten or 11 performed we would win the game.
“But I reckon only three or four turned up.
“Did the players let it get to them and affect them? Possibly it did. I think some of my players should know what it’s like to play in front of a big crowd and in a big game.
“But they didn’t perform and that’s the top and bottom of the whole thing, because we didn’t get anywhere near Shields.
“When it comes down to possession, I thought we had as much as North Shields.
“When it was about chances, I thought we had none and we were very predictable going forward whilst they looked a threat going forward.
“We thought because the pitch was heavy we hit the big man [Ben Harmison], but there was nobody helping him and I thought that was a fundamental mistake from our point of view.
“In our recent unbeaten run of nine games, and with no disrespect to the teams we have played, I’m not sure we have played against too many good sides.
“On Saturday we are at home to Seaham Red Star, a good side who will be no pushovers.
“Then we go back to face North Shields in the Northumberland Senior Cup next Wednesday.
“The players will be in the same frame of mind but will have to show a different aspect when they get onto the field.
“We seemed to lose that will to win from the very first minute.”