Neal Ardley says Notts County showed a great mixture of qualities during their victory against Boreham Wood on Tuesday night.
The Magpies ran out 2-1 winners at Meadow Park, with Enzio Boldewijn and Sam Osborne on target prior to Tyrone Marsh’s late penalty for their hosts.
And Ardley was impressed with the way his side dug in and how they looked in possession of the ball.
“We wanted some more steel and not just substance,” explained the boss.
“Against Bromley at the weekend we ended up controlling the game but losing it and the lads were annoyed by that, which is a nice thing.
“On Tuesday we wanted to play our football, which was epitomised in our second goal, but also put in an away performance and defend resiliently.
“In the second half, Boreham Wood didn’t look like scoring and I thought we had the game on lock and were ready to see it out, so it was a disappointing penalty to give away which made for a nervy ending.
“We have to keep finding that balance of grafting and battling but also having that quality in the moments that matter – that’s why we were able to win on the road.”
Ahead of the game, Ardley had challenged his players to fill the void left by injuries throughout the squad, and he was pleased to see Osborne do so and score his first senior goal in the process.
“I said that the boys who have been on the fringes needed to step up,” he added. “We do the hard work with them so they’re ready to come in.
“Ozzy is a good lad – he works his socks off in training and the lads love him for it.
“He wants to play as a winger and we’re trying to get our wide men to do exactly what he did for his goal – come off lines and get into pockets.
“Damien McCrory and Connell Rawlinson were outstanding at the back, too. We learned a lot from throwing them together late last week and they were much better on Tuesday night.”