YORK City manager Martin Gray has enforced an alcohol ban at Bootham Crescent until the end of the season.

The former Darlington boss has forbidden his players from recreational drinking for the next two months, arguing the time to indulge will be when the team has something to toast.

Gray was speaking after his team ground out a 1-0 home win over Boston United, following Ben Middleton’s second-half own goal.

Tempers flared, meanwhile, at the end of the contest as City midfielder Simon Heslop was sent off, along with Boston pair Andy Thanoj and the hapless Harrogate Town loan defender Middleton.

Issuing his booze stance at the final whistle, Gray declared: “There will be no alcohol at all from now until the end of the season.

“We’ll celebrate when we’ve won something. We’ve got nine games to go and we’ve got to finish as high as we possibly can.”

The Minstermen’s triumph lifted the club up to a season-equalling highest league position of fourth, although play-off rivals Blyth, Kidderminster and Spennymoor would go above Gray’s team if they take advantage of their games in hand.

Spennymoor, who are still in the FA Trophy, have played six fixtures less than City, but Gray added such backlogs could now act as a hindrance for fellow promotion contenders. “We’ve only got one midweek night game left (at Kidderminster on Tuesday) and those long journeys for lads who have been at work, like Blyth will need to do when they go to Telford, do affect performances,” he reasoned.

Heslop will be available for the Kidderminster game as suspensions at National League North level do not come into force until seven days after the offence.

With his infringement being for two bookings and, following his dismissal earlier in the season against FC United of Manchester, he will, however, sit out two games – the home match with Southport next Saturday and the trip to Nuneaton seven days later.

City boss Gray felt that referee John Matthews was right to red card all three players, but also believed visiting forward Jake Beesley should have been given his marching orders in the first half.

“I thought Simon Heslop’s was a sending off,” Gray admitted. “He over-stretched and caught their player.

“Their player then had somebody in a headlock so he had to go. For the third one, Raul (Correia) showed real commitment, strength and desire to keep David Ferguson’s ball down the line in and their player two-footed him, so that was an easy red too and I thought their striker could have gone for a horrendous challenge on Adam Bartlett. It was certainly a booking and he must have been delighted not to have even got a card.

“The importance of discipline has been seen with Jon (Parkin) getting sent off, because it’s meant we’ve missed our focal point for the last two games, but I thought we showed real grit and a tough mentality and that’s what I want in my teams because, when it kicked off, everybody was in.”

But Gray was disappointed with a lacklustre first half in which his team failed to carry out his tactical instructions on a heavy playing surface.

“We got off to a slow start in the first half and didn’t create enough chances and, while the pitch didn’t help either team, we still needed to up the tempo,” he pointed out. “They didn’t threaten much either, but they had a game-plan to slow things down and their keeper was doing that from the first minute.

“I was so frustrated because all we had worked on for ten days shape wise wasn’t coming through and there were a few harsh words and fingers pointed at half-time. But, I then thought the second half was a strong performance and we showed what we had worked on because we were threatening before the goal and I was pleased when one squeezed in at the far post, because we do a lot of work on overloads in wide areas and that’s where it came from.

“We have to make sure, though, that we take out what we’ve worked on at the training ground on to the big stage from the start.”

The hosts changed from a 4-2-3-1 formation to 3-4-1-2, with Dan Parslow, who was recalled in defence for his first start since the 2-1 defeat at Boston back in December, earning the praise of his manager, who said: “We have the personnel to play different formations and Dan Parslow deservedly got man of the match.

“He won some big headers and we changed him to the centre because, without being disrespectful, Hamza (Bencherif)’s distribution is better from the right of the back three.”

On-loan Middlesbrough midfielder Alex Pattison, meanwhile, was played in a more central role than the inside-right position he has previously filled, with Gray more pleased by his second-half performance than the the first too.

“I want him to be box-to-box for 90 minutes like David Batty used to be,” the City manager explained. “He’s 19 and his fitness levels should allow him to do that and he was stronger in the second half.”