Gateshead manager Neil Aspin felt his side’s performance in Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at Chester was typical of their season as a whole.
After a listless opening 45 minutes, the Heed began the second-half brightly, and got their noses in front through Rob Ramshaw’s first goal of the campaign.
However, after Kane Richards restored parity for Chester on the hour-mark, the floodgates opened, with the Blues netting four goals in a devastating 20-minute spell.
The Tynesiders were dead and buried by the time Danny Johnson struck a late consolation, having conceded three goals or more for the eleventh time in the Vanarama National League this term.
Defeat means that Gateshead end the season in ninth, a point and a place better off than last time out.
However, Aspin acknowledges that further improvement is a must for the next campaign, and outlined his plan for the week ahead.
He said: “Watching us take the lead and keep possession as we did, anyone who had just turned up would think we looked a good footballing side.
“But looking at it 25 minutes later, you’d say we just weren’t good enough defensively.
“It sums up the season as a whole. There was some promising forward play and some promising play in possession, but – again – some poor defending.
“Added to the other goals we have conceded, we’ve now let in 70 goals this season – and you don’t have to be an expert to know that if that isn’t addressed, we’re not going to be successful.
“I’m disappointed. You want to end the season on a high by winning a game, but we showed in that period today that there is a lot of work to be done.
“I expected to see more fight than I have, and now it’s up to me to change that.
“I’ll be under more pressure next season to make sure we’re more competitive, and I expect us to be more competitive.
“I will tell the players who I will be keeping on Tuesday, and after that I have to work all summer to bring players in.
“Once I have a new set of players to work with, then we can really give it a go.”