ATHERSTONE Town boss Ivor Green hailed his players after their gutsy display against Conference Premier side Tamworth on Tuesday night.
The Adders were beaten 2-0 in a pre-season friendly at Sheepy Road, goals from Michael Rankine and Stuart Hendrie sealing Tamworth's win.
Rankine's goal came after 17 seconds which, Green says, made Atherstone's performance all the more impressive.
"I thought we worked really hard on the night and it was a good performance from us," Green said.
"Let's face it, after going one down after less than 30 seconds, against a professional team, we could easily have crumbled.
"But the players reacted really well and I thought we played some decent stuff on the night.
"It was never going to be an easy game but myself, Dave Turner and Wayne Chapman have worked really hard with the boys in training and I think it paid off.
"Our fitness levels were pretty good throughout the 90 minutes.
"I thought, in the first half in particular, we did well.
"We perhaps should have scored from at least one set-piece and we got round the back of the Lambs' defence a few times.
"So we have to be happy with that and hopefully we can use this performance and take it forward.
"I am confident that, come the start of the season, we will be in a position to match the teams around us so that we will be going into games, every week, with a good chance."
Green is hoping that Atherstone's friendly with Tamworth can become a regular fixture after 285 fans turned out to watch the clash.
"I thought it was an enjoyable night and a decent game of football," he said. "I felt we gave them the kind of test they would have wanted from a first game.
"And the way Tamworth conducted themselves, the players, staff and fans, was terrific. It would be great to make it a regular thing."
The Adders are at home to Lutterworth on Saturday, kick-off 3pm. Tickets are just £3 (concessions £2).
The Adders are also in action on Tuesday night (7.45pm) when they take on NKF United.
The game is in aid of the National Kidney Foundation and so admission is £5 for adults and £3 concessions.
Atherstone Town have been drawn away to Rocester of The Midland Alliance Football League in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Budweiser FA Cup.
The fixture is to be played on Saturday, August 17.
The winner of that tie will be at home to Studley or Stafford Town on Saturday, August 31.
The winner of that tie will be at home to Redditch United.
Atherstone have been drawn away to Dudley Sports in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Carlsberg Vase, having received a bye in the First Qualifying Round.
The tie will be played on Saturday, September 21.