1 It’s never too early to make changes

In his post-match analysis, City caretaker chief Sam Collins admitted he was planning his half-time double-substitution before the first period drew to a close. Ed Williams’ second goal in the 45th minute, though, meant the changes were made with the game very differently balanced than if the score had been 1-0 at the break.

After half-an-hour’s play, the decision to pair diminutive duo Jake Wright and Macaulay Langstaff in attack already looked flawed as attack after attack broke down when the ball was played up to the final third where neither forward was able to retain possession, as the side failed to muster a single on-target shot in the first half. Tactical substitutions before the break are often frowned upon, given the perceived impact it could have on player morale, but managers live and die by making brave decisions and, whilst everybody can make a mistake with their choice of a starting XI, that can be remedied at any point in a game – not just when the oranges are dished out in the dressing room.

York Press: ON TARGET: Marksman Flynn McNaughton in action for York City reserves against Grimsby Town. Picture: ian Parker

2 Flynn McNaughton could be worth another look

With Jake Wright and Macaulay Langstaff struggling to lead the line against Kidderminster, fitness question marks concerning 36-year-old veteran Jon Parkin and Jordan Burrow seemingly out of favour after failing to net in his first seven matches, first-year professional McNaughton could feel somewhat unfortunate not to have featured in a matchday squad as yet this term, given his encouraging displays for the senior team at the difficult tail-end of last season. During the Scarborough-born forward’s three cameo outings in April, he demonstrated an intelligence to find space to receive and retain possession, and also ended the campaign in eye-catching fashion with an impressive brace against Doncaster reserves.

Other than a four-minute pre-season outing, in which he injured an ankle during the 7-1 defeat to Barnsley, the promising 18-year-old has not featured again in a competitive fixture for the club and is possibly the biggest victim of the decision to dispense with organised second-string football. Sam Collins is a confessed promoter of youth, as evidenced with his decision to start untried teenager Fergus McAughtrie in two of his four matches as caretaker boss and McNaughton must come under consideration soon if National League North’s second-lowest scorers continue to misfire.

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3 City’s centre-backs struggled against the Kidderminster press

Under Sam Collins, Joe Tait and Hamza Bencherif have been assigned with the responsibility of starting off attacking moves from wider positions, but both found it more difficult at Bootham Crescent against forwards who were quick to close down the space in front of them. Tait looked as harassed as he has been at any point during an otherwise strong start to his City career, while Bencherif was particularly uncomfortable on his less-favoured left side when given less room to carry the ball forward.

Both players clearly needed better movement in front of them and more willing recipients of the ball, with the deep-lying Simon Heslop often the only option, but still looked more nervous when challenged to play out from the back quicker than in previous contests.

At the other end, meanwhile, Kidderminster enjoyed more freedom to pick out their passes from inside their own half.

York Press: Ashley Chambers hails one of his seven goals this season

4 The reception for Ashley Chambers was both a statement on the past and present

City’s frustrated home faithful reserved their biggest applause of the afternoon for the club’s former double-Wembley winning attacker Chambers. The reaction to his 76th-minute substitution, which was executed with the game firmly in the bag, was a touching moment of appreciation for the former Leicester forward’s contribution to those magical nine days in 2012, and he later acknowledged the tribute on Twitter.

But the vigour of City supporters’ ovation was also a slight on the efforts of players in recent years and many fans will have left Bootham Crescent in genuine sadness at the stark reminder Chambers provided of what the club was not so long ago and what it has become.

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5 Kidderminster DO have better players than City

Despite away boss Neil MacFarlane later attributing Sam Collins’ pre-match quotes as motivation for his team’s impressive performance, there was little wrong in the City caretaker chief expressing his view that he had the stronger squad of players. In truth, he will have been under no illusion at the challenge his inherited team faced against the undefeated visitors, who have been widely regarded as the best football team in this division during the last two seasons and he will have been attempting to boost his own players’ confidence.

It has since been used as a stick to beat the former Huddersfield and Hull City defender with, not least by the bristling MacFarlane. But the reality is Collins is not responsible for the disparity in quality between the two teams.

All the pre-season talk was of the Minstermen targeting the title, but that just never seemed realistic, given the number of players retained from a roster that finished 11th last term. Runaway leaders Chorley now lie 16 points ahead of 13th-placed City with Kidderminster likely to be on their coat-tails should they hiccup at any point and, whilst everybody at Bootham Crescent understands the desperation attached to getting out of this division as quickly as possible, automatic promotion can, in all likelihood, be discounted.

The one redeeming feature of National League North is that a play-off spot is open to almost a third of the division and, for any team getting their house in order during the second half of the campaign, the rewards are clear to see. That is now the challenge for the club’s next manager, whether that be Collins or another candidate, and will seemingly require some surgery to the squad.

Many would argue that wholesale changes are required but that remains financially imprudent and the perils of drafting in another raft of panicked wholesale additions can be documented far too painfully in recent times anyway. Nigel Worthington’s January 2014 transfer-window business – when Nick Pope, Keith Lowe, Russ Penn and John McCombe’s services were all secured by the club – demonstrated the difference three or four carefully-considered recruits in key positions can make to an under-performing outfit and that standard of recruitment, commensurate to sixth-tier level, now looks needed if City are to salvage their season and the team win back the respect and confidence of their followers.