Blyth Spartans manager Lee Clark believes the 5-0 defeat to Spennymoor Town was difficult to assess after Joe Robson’s 13th-minute red card.
James Roberts raced in-behind Robson with a tug on the shoulder from the defender seeing the Moors attacker fall to the ground and the referee show no hesitation in handing him his marching orders.
From the free-kick, Stephen Brogan directed his 20-yard effort past Mark Foden before Adam Boyes give Spartans a mountain to climb with a quick-fire second.
Andrew Johnson scored a stunning goal just after half-time to put the game out of reach, though Clark admits he was disappointed with the defending for the fourth and fifth goal from Boyes and Johnson, respectively.
“It’s a difficult one to assess as the match was totally changed by the sending off,” Clark told the club website. “From the free-kick, they took the lead then quickly after, two up.
“It’s a tricky one to comment on with Spennymoor playing so much of the game with the extra man. I think they are one of the best sides we’ve played so far with so many good and experienced players.
“They went three ahead just as we were trying to implement something to keep us in the game. The final two goals from Spennymoor came from some poor defensive play.”
Spartans will regroup this evening at Croft Park as they train ahead of the trip to Southport on Saturday in what will be their 11th game of the season.
And Clark has called on his player to “rekindle the desire and passion” shown in previous matches, which provided signs of improvement, particular against Kidderminster Harriers.
The former Birmingham City manager added: “We need to be better in the possession and we must keep working at our game.
“We have training on Thursday before the Southport game to look at things.
“We need to rekindle the desire and passion we showed in the Kidderminster fixture, get some luck and just keep going.
“We had a lot of changes in the squad over the summer and have had to make some more recently so it’s difficult but we are what we are.”