Tom Wade praised the "attitude and commitment" of his Blyth Spartans side despite a 4-2 defeat at Grantham Town.
The Croft Park outfit trailed 4-1 at half-time after 45 minutes which saw goalkeeper Conor Grant sent off but, controversially, not Gingerbreadmen striker Greg Smith and Wade’s team “terrible and intimidated”.
However, following harsh words at the interval, the Spartans showed sufficient spirit to at least restore pride.
Wade said: “We asked the players for a response and we got it.
“The attitude and commitment were top drawer and we’re very proud of them.
“We were terrible first half, we got done by route-one football and looked a bit intimidated.
“The improvement showed we have to stick by these lads through the good times and the bad and we will do that.”
Trailing to Ash Burbeary’s early goal, Sonny Andrews equalised.
Jamie McGhee and Smith then restored and extended the hosts’ lead before the latter escaped with a booking after a collision with Grant, who was then dismissed for a professional foul on the same player, Burbeary with the penalty.
When Blyth’s second-half pressure finally paid off, Arran Wearmouth was tripped in the box and Andrews netted the follow--up after his spot kick was saved.