STEVE HALLIWELL believes Gresford Athletic were "taught a lesson" as they were beaten 7-0 by Bala Town - but it will prove valuable in the long term.

Luis Robles struck a hat-trick, with Steve Leslie, Chris Venables, Lee Molyneux and a penalty from Henry Jones completing the scoring for the Lakesiders.

Director of football Halliwell held his hands up, saying: "They were outstanding, the best side I've seen at that level.

"They will struggle to keep hold of some of the players they've got."

Halliwell, who saw his side trail only 2-0 at the break, continued: "We had nothing to lose and we were taught a lesson, but we can take some positives out of the game.

"We could have capitulated and conceded double figures, but we didn't and we kept trying to play our football.

"At 2-0 at half-time we told the lads to keep doing what they were doing, but we conceded a third goal 60 seconds after the restart and it was game over.

"I'm taking nothing away from the lads though, because they kept battling and it showed that we are more than ready for the Cymru North season to start."

Hat-trick hero Robles was full of praise for the way Gresford went about the clash at Maes Tegid.

"They could have easily sat XI men behind the ball and parked the bus, but they gave it a go and tried to play, so fair play to them," Robles told Bala's official website.

On his trio of goals on debut, the 22-year-old, added: "I'm over the moon, I couldn't ask for much more."