Neil Aspin took plenty of positives from FC Halifax Town’s 2-1 loss to Preston, their first defeat of pre-season.
The League One side threatened to move out of sight in an impressive first-half after goals from Andy Little and Josh Brownhill.
But Town battled back thanks to Ross Dyer’s header and could easily have rescued a draw after the interval.
The Town boss admitted his side were second best in the first-half but was pleased with the improvements he saw after the restart.
He said: “It was a game of two halves for us. The first-half we were up against a team who were better than us, there’s no question about that.
“They were better in possession, kept the ball really well, passed it and made it really difficult for us.
“But I’m very happy with the way it’s finished because we’ve changed the formation and we’ve done a lot better in the second-half.
“Considering we’d used a lot of energy trying to win the ball back in the first-half I thought we finished strongly and in terms of fitness I thought we looked every bit as fit as Preston, so there’s a lot of good to come out of the game.”
Aspin said it could have turned into a rout after Preston raced into a 2-0 lead but says the stern test provided by Simon Grayson’s team will stand the Shaymen in good stead for the season.
The Town boss said: “These are the types of games where when you go 2-0 down you could end up getting beat four or five because their tails are up and they’re knocking the ball around well.
“But I think it’s important you try and stay in the game and you get some shape and order back into your play.
“In the second-half we had the better chances and we could have got something out of it so it was a really good test, I’m pleased that Preston had a strong team and that’s a good workout for us to take into the season.”
Josh Wilson was deemed still not fit enough to play, while Danny Schofield and Richard Peniket were both ruled out with hamstring twinges and Lois Maynard’s swelling on his ankle prevented him from starting.
Strikers Scott Boden and Dyer both impressed again, with the former setting-up the latter for Town’s goal on the stroke of half-time.
Aspin has been pleased with both forwards’ contributions so far.
He added: “I think for any forwards who come to a club they want to get off the mark and get some goals.
“With Ross, he’s not played a lot of football over the last couple of years and he needs games.
“I think he’s shown his quality, it was a good goal, a lovely cross in and it’ll do them both good that they’ve both got goals in pre-season.
“I think Scott’s showed he’s a good player, good movement and he will score goals.
“When he’s been in wide areas he’s put in some good deliveries and he’s a good player.”