1 The A-team are providing great support for Jon Parkin

Whether they be Mick Jagger, Bono or Freddie Mercury, every great frontman needs a quality supporting cast – normally consisting of three skilled practitioners, whose talents dovetail to form a collective harmony. Jon Parkin, therefore, will be delighted with the backing he is receiving from attacking trio Alex Pattison, Aidan Connolly and Adriano Moke.

It is a telling statistic that City boast a 100 per cent record in the matches their “Fab Four” have started together, with 12 points from a possible 12 taken against North Ferriby (twice), Darlington and now Salford. Ever since he entered the building, Martin Gray has made it his responsibility to get the right people around veteran marksman Parkin to capitalise on his cleverness and compensate for his mobility limitations.

Energy was clearly required in that search but - in common with Parkin - Pattison, Connolly and Moke all importantly possess a footballing intelligence and ability to retain possession that means they can synchronise with the former Championship campaigner in a manner that often proved beyond the equally-industrious Amari Morgan-Smith. That assuredness in the final third has also lessoned the need for percentage play and as many long balls forward because, despite his size, the Barnsley-born behemoth has always been just as effective, if not more so, on the deck.

In the four games the forward-thinking quartet have kicked off in the same team, it is also worth noting that just two goals have been conceded, with the side’s only clean sheets in their last 24 fixtures – against Ferriby and Salford – registered. Experienced midfield duo Simon Heslop and Sean Newton deserve additional credit for that record, with the need for disciplined cover in a 4-2-3-1 system that looks all the better for Pattison’s return to the club for a second loan spell from Middlesbrough.

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2 Martin Gray won’t shirk big selection dilemmas

There is little place for sentimentality in football and, if Connor Smith’s jettisoning from the squad seemed harsh following his man-of-the-match performance the game before at Tamworth, Gray’s actions were vindicated by the taking of three points against the league leaders. Managers should never shy away from the big decisions or ignore their instincts as to which starting XI is the most likely to secure a positive result from their next game.

Pattison’s previous performances for the team were always going to place him ahead of Smith in the pecking order for the team’s wide-right slot, with the latter still to prove his reliability on a consistent basis, given his limited opportunities to date. Strong communication skills are always the key to dealing with such situations successfully and Gray’s post-match comments that Smith will still play a part in the remainder of the season represented good man-management.

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3 Hamza Bencherif CAN be the imposing and inspirational centre back City have cried out for all season

Many observers watching City and their struggle to keep clean sheets this season have commented on the need for a big centre half to marshal and organise the back-line. Given that there are not many around in National League North the size of the Minstermen’s 6ft 3in, former Algerian under-20 international perhaps suggests that Bencherif has not hit the standards expected of him during 2017/18.

In City’s previous battles against Salford, eyes have been cast with slight envy towards towering opposition sentinels Carl Piergianni and Liam Hogan, with the pair’s uncompromising style and physical presence proving the cornerstone of a title push from the division’s seventh-top scorers. Even on Saturday, it took a little fortune for Aidan Connolly to win the match with the only goal of the game but, nevertheless, Bencherif had a rightful claim to be regarded as the best defender on the pitch come the final whistle.

Winning almost every header and tackle he contested, Bencherif led the kind of resilient and focussed rearguard effort that has been lacking in City’s play during far too many fixtures this term. He also demonstrably helped young rookie Johnny Burn through the game, barking out regular instructions to keep minds concentrated at the back.

The reward was a rare, but deserved, shut-out and Gray will be looking for more of the same from the ex-Macclesfield and Notts County campaigner between now and May.

York Press: KEEPING ON TOP: York City's new net-minder Adam Bartlett in action on his debut at Alfreton. Picture: Gordon Clayton

4 Adam Bartlett reads situations really well

When Bencherif and his team-mates were breached, Salford encountered a similarly-determined last line of defence. Bartlett might not have been required to pull off the remarkable reflex saves that have become his trademark since an autumn switch from Darlington, but he performed all of his less eye-catching duties in impressive fashion.

The former England C international’s decision-making and anticipation was exemplary. Having shown early awareness to snuff out Salford top scorer Jack Redshaw’s only chance of the match following a stray back pass by Heslop, Bartlett went on to sweep up several times, choosing wisely when to boot a ball out of the ground or in the direction of a team-mate.

Perhaps most impressively, though, was his response in stoppage time when he came under pressure from opposite number Max Crocombe, who stands five inches taller than the 6ft City net-minder and was sent up to unsettle Bartlett for two late corners. On both occasions, the latter made decisive punched clearances, proving irrefutably that he is not a man to be intimidated.

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5 Salford are in danger of blowing their automatic-promotion hopes

Having been pre-season title favourites and led the standings comfortably for so long, as well as carrying the weight of expectation from Class of ’92 owners Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville, there is added pressure on Salford to deliver as the season enters its final straight. With another Sky Sports documentary in the making, nobody will want a repeat of last season’s series either, when the Ammies’ failure to secure promotion, following a play-off defeat to Halifax, was played out in front of a prime-time audience.

That would be of acute embarrassment to Monday Night Football expert Gary Neville, who cut a glum figure in the away end at Bootham Crescent and, with Salford’s once-sizeable gap at the top now cut to two points as Harrogate Town lead the chasing pack, joint-boss Anthony Johnson admitted the team are experiencing shortcomings in the final third of the pitch. Surrendering such an advantage can have a significant psychological impact at this stage of the season and the rest of the division are paying close attention to how Salford will react in coming weeks.