SKIPPER Sean Newton has strongly rejected accusations that York City’s players don’t care about the club’s plight.

A 2-1 defeat at second-bottom Boston United saw City drop to ninth place in the National League North standings – a massive 21 points behind table-topping Salford almost halfway through a season where promotion was set as the minimum requirement.

City have beaten Salford in the FA Cup and five of the top six sides in the division this term, but Newton insists that slip-ups against the likes of Boston are not a sign that the squad are unconcerned by the ramifications of such results.

“I’ve seen it said a few times that the players don’t care, but I want to put that to bed now, because it frustrates me,” the former Wrexham defender declared. “When you play for a club, you become a fan of that club, because you’re playing for three points.

“I support Liverpool and I’m gutted when they lose, but I can cope with that happening if we have won and it doesn’t mean as much to me if they win, but we’ve lost. My weekend is still ruined.

“We do care and anybody who thinks that isn’t the case needs to name the people who aren’t working hard because, if they weren’t, I don’t think the gaffer would be picking them. Players at this level are not going to be as good as York have had in the past and they’ll sometimes give the ball away, but I don’t think there’s one player that isn’t working as hard as they can.”

Newton added, though, that he accepts he and his team-mates need to appreciate they will be held accountable for any mistakes they commit for the Minstermen at the sixth tier of the game.

“If you don’t want to get criticised for something you’ve done wrong, then don’t play football,” he reasoned. “You will be questioned when you don’t play well, because we’re playing for a club that shouldn’t be at this level and, if you can’t handle that, then you need to play for somebody whose fans don’t really care.”

A run of 13 games without a clean sheet, meanwhile, has placed City’s defence under close scrutiny, but Newton argued that the loss in Lincolnshire could not be pinned on that department of the team, saying: “I don’t think the goals had anything to do with the back four and I felt they defended quite well.

“It just came down to two set-plays, as has been the case a few times this season. We’ve got to carry on working on that and the gaffer is doing that all the time.

“We go through everything and are so thorough because we’ve gone so long without a clean sheet and are desperate for one and I thought Boston was going to be the day.”

He went on to admit that the Minstermen must eradicate the sinking feeling that now seems to follow every goal conceded.

“Until their goal, I thought we had done all the right things and we were comfortable,” he pointed out. “They didn’t really look to have anything.

“They were hitting it long and, while (Reece) Thompson was a bit lively, they’d had no clear-cut chances and I didn’t feel like we’d concede. In contrast, we’d had three or four unbelievable chances that we didn’t take and ended up getting punished for that again.

“I think it would have been all over if we’d have made it 2-0, but they got lucky at a set-piece after Hamza (Bencherif) tried to clear it and it’s 1-1. Then, we went a little bit gung-ho and they got a penalty out of nothing.

“We’ve got to work on not sinking as a team – sort of – when we concede a goal. We’ve got to weather storms better and stay in games by keeping nice and tight, as we were until they equalised.”

One positive from the game was the end of a 93-game goal drought for Adriano Moke when the 27-year-old midfielder opened the scoring in spectacular fashion at York Street, with Newton believing the former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate needs to have the confidence to try his luck more often in such situations.

“Everyone can see the ability he has got but, sometimes, he doesn’t believe in himself in terms of shooting and finishing,” the City captain explained. “He tends to give the ball somebody else, but he’s got that in his locker.

“Having said that, he gives us something else when he drives with the ball. He’s also comfortable on it and works so hard and, if he added goals to his game, I don’t think he would be playing at this level – he would be far too good.”