YORK City manager Martin Gray accused “one or two players” of giving up as the club’s fading play-off hopes were all but extinguished at FC United of Manchester.

Connor McCarthy’s second-half goal sealed a third consecutive 1-0 defeat for the Minstermen following previous away losses against Gainsborough and Nuneaton.

The City boss went on to insist his struggling players must now “man up” ahead of this season’s final home game against Leamington on Saturday.

Gray said: “We’ve let a goal in at roughly the same time in each of the last three games and lost them all 1-0. Everything seems fine until we concede and then there’s a lack of belief that seems to go straight through the group.

“One or two of our players give up and they have got to man up, because the game is all about how you respond to mistakes. I am asking them to give the football club every ounce of energy they have got, because that’s what they are paid to do.

“We must work hard as people to come through the rough times because, if you hide behind others, you will fail and everybody has to stand up and be counted. We have a fantastic fan base and, in our last home game of the season, we’ve got to go out and give a real, honest display because, if the players don’t, we know what’s coming.”

The reaction from City’s travelling army of fans was not as fierce as that witnessed during the weekend’s loss against ten-man Gainsborough, but two protesting supporters did invade the pitch during stoppage time, with one blasting the ball in the net, resulting in ironic cheers from the away end.

City have now failed to net in their last four contests and Gray admitted: “It was a very, very frustrating night and so disappointing.

“The lack of a goal threat has been obvious since Jon Parkin has been out of the team, but that’s not an excuse. Sean Newton put a good shift in as a makeshift forward and worked hard, as did James Gray, but we had one or two chances that needed to go in to give us a lift because our first-half performance was reasonably good.

“Josh Law and Simon Heslop both used the ball well and made good decisions in possession, but we never really threatened in the final third.”

The City chief also held on-loan Bristol Rovers centre back Jonny Burn culpable for McCarthy’s goal and challenged him to become more “horrible” as a defender.

“Their player travelled from the halfway line to the edge of our box and, then, Jonny Burn didn’t put a challenge in and you have to do the basics right,” Gray pointed out. “Their centre-halves kicked James Gray and Sean Newton around all night and you’ve got to be tenacious and horrible as a defender, but I didn’t see that from Jonny Burn.”