HEXHAM crashed out of the Team Valley Carpets Combination Cup after losing 1-0 at Rothbury.

But despite the reverse, manager Martin Lowes insisted the Northern Alliance Division One side delivered one of their performances of the season so far.

“We were dominant for long periods,” he said. “We hit the post twice, hit the bar, and the Rothbury keeper made some great saves.

“Some of the football we played was excellent. We maintained the high standards which have been there in previous games this season, and we did everything but score.”

Lowes offered some credit to the North Northumbrian side for their victory, which came courtesy of a second half header from Sam Proudlock.

He added: “Rothbury are an experienced side with some very strong players. They sit back and invite pressure, and they are effective on the break.”

Of all his side’s goalscoring opportunities, Lowes said Sam Mannion came the closest to finding a breakthrough with a fine shot from eight yards.

“It was heading for the top right hand corner,” said the manager. “But their goalkeeper Dom McMahon produced a full stretch save where he was diving backwards, and he somehow flicked it over the bar. It was a bit like Gordon Banks’ famous save from Pele in 1970.”

In the second half, Hexham conceded a corner following a drop-ball, and from there Proudlock headed home at the far post, giving visiting keeper Tom Craney no chance.

Hexham travel to Heaton Hawks Seniors in the Northumberland FA Minor Cup on Saturday.