By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
An angry Willie Donachie accused his Newcastle United second-string side of failing to do the "nitty gritty" during their Northumberland FA Senior Cup quarter-final defeat to Bedlington Terriers.
Shane Ferguson's free-kick gave the Magpies a 15th minute lead against their part-time opponents, currently fourth in the Northern League First Division, but they went on to lose 3-2.
Bedlington's equaliser, on the stroke of half-time, came from a Mark Convery free-kick which was virtually unstoppable, but former Newcastle youngster Mark Doninger was given too much time and space to lob Jak Alnwick to put Bedlington ahead and then Richard Pell was left unmarked to head home the third.
JJ Hooper pulled one back late on but it wasn't enough to keep the cup holders for the last two seasons in the competition and Donachie told nufc.co.uk: "It's very disappointing to lose against a non-league team as professional players - very, very disappointing.
"But basically, I said to them it's because they didn't do the real nitty gritty basics right, which is head the ball, get onto flick-ons and anticipate second balls. They were better than us at that on a pitch that was worse than our players have ever played on.
"You're going to struggle if you're not prepared to do those basic things, which is chase things, pressure people; the basics of the game that they were better than us at.
"Having said that, we had a lot of chances and in the first half we should have scored more than one. But in the second half, their second goal was because we didn't have people running with people, staying with people - the basics. If you can't do that, you'll never win a game."
When asked if his players - including five with first-team experience for Newcastle - felt the game was too easy after taking an early lead, Donachie admitted: "Maybe, but we assured them that in the second half - because I've seen Bedlington here - down that hill they'll launch the ball behind you and make it hard.
"But we didn't put enough pressure on them, we didn't stay with people and then when they're in the lead, on that pitch it's very hard to grab it back.
"Then the third one was a set play where somebody didn't stay with their man and he gets a free header. It's just not good enough and he won't progress if he's not prepared to do that."
Donachie still had words of praise for a handful of his players, however.
"I thought Jak was great in goal," said the Reserve Team Manager. "Remie (Streete) in his first game in a long time was very good, Lubo (Satka) who's been out for a while played well and I thought Adam (Campbell) was a threat.
"Basically the young ones were the better players."