FRUSTRATED boss Martin Gray insisted that York City’s players must start carrying out his instructions following a 2-1 defeat at second-bottom Boston United.

The struggling Pilgrims took maximum points after second-half goals from Jordan Keane and Ashley Hemmings cancelled out Adriano Moke’s 19th-minute effort.

It was a result that saw City drop out of the play-off positions and down to ninth place in the National League North standings.

The game also represented a 13th without a clean sheet for the visitors and an irritated Gray admitted: “I’ve been here two months now and it’s the most frustrated I have felt.

“At 1-0, I thought we were in control of the game and didn’t look like conceding, but the manner that we did on both occasions is a concern. I am the coach and manager and I work very hard on the training ground to counteract these things, but people need to listen and take instructions on board.

“We have players who have played at this level and higher and they should be experienced enough to be disciplined out of possession. If that’s the case, we don’t need to score three goals to win a game – 1-0 would be enough.”

While defensive frailties continue to hinder the Minstermen’s progress, Gray also lamented his team’s display at the other end of the pitch, with James Gray, Aidan Connolly and Amari Morgan-Smith all seeing great chances saved by home keeper George Willis.

“We didn’t do enough in both boxes,” the City chief bemoaned. “It’s easy to dig out defenders for mistakes but, even though we had a great bit of quality from somebody who doesn’t usually score, we could have been 3-0 up at half-time with the great chances we had and you have to convert them.

“Then, the longer it’s 1-0, we seem to allow teams chances and that’s happened too often now.”

Second-half sub Connolly was adjudged to have fouled home right-back James Clifton for the 74th-minute penalty that Hemmings converted to win the game.

Gray did not contest the decision and was equally as annoyed by the manner in which the ball ended up in the visitors’ box.

“He (Connolly) got himself in a position that makes it easy for the referee to give it, but it was just as concerning how the ball got from one end of the pitch to our penalty box so quickly,” the Bootham Crescent boss reasoned.

Gray went on to absolve debutant Jonny Burn of any blame for the loss following the centre back’s loan arrival from Bristol Rovers, adding: “He didn’t do anything wrong and used the ball well.

“He was up against big Greg Smith who is a handful, but I thought he won his headers and had quite a solid performance.”

Burn’s selection saw Dan Parslow shift to right back with Josh Law dropping to the bench and, on that decision, Gray explained: “I wanted to go a little more defensive and put a bigger side out and I didn’t feel they caused too many problems down the left side.”

Alex Whittle, meanwhile, failed to make the squad altogether and watched on from the stands as fellow left-back Sam Muggleton was hailed from the bench instead, with Gray saying: “Sam Muggleton had been on loan at Boston for a month and, when they picked up points, the reports I had where that he’d done alright.

“There are certain aspects of his game, ie the long throw, that we had to use to try and get a point out of the match, even though it’s not what we want to do going forward.”

Despite his frustration, Gray also refuted accusations that his team were apathetic about the club’s current plight.

“They do care and are hurting,” he argued. “There’s no question about that.

“They are proud footballers and professional people, but they’ve got to respond now, because it’s the second time we’ve played like that in the nine games I’ve been here and we can’t have any more performances like that.”