YORK City boss Sam Collins has insisted this season’s squad must break the cycle of failure at Bootham Crescent.

A 3-0 National League North defeat at Altrincham saw the Minstermen drop into the division’s bottom six – just three points above the relegation zone and Collins did not mince his words afterwards.

Since Jackie McNamara’s disastrous managerial reign and reckless recruitment conspired to relegate the club two divisions from their hard-fought position in the Football League, Gary Mills, Martin Gray and, now, Collins have struggled to string together any sustained run of good form in the English game’s regionalised sixth tier, despite benefitting from a sizeable wage budget.

The Minstermen’s latest defeat mean the team have now taken only one point from a possible 15, with the one exception to four losses the encouraging 0-0 home draw with Chester in midweek, but Collins lamented his players’ familiar inability to build on that performance during a defeat at Moss Lane, which was sealed by second-half goals from Josh Hancock (two) and Jake Moult.

Pulling few punches at the final whistle, Collins declared: “I’ve asked the players to tell me if they think there’s anything I’m doing wrong and, if they can, I’ll do something different, but I like to think I’ve been around long enough to understand players and be respectful to them and, then, you hope you get something back in return.

“One of the players in the changing room after the game said: ‘There’s been more than 80 players at the club over the last two or three years, so what is it? What’s wrong?’ “I said to that: ‘Well, why wait for the next lot? Why can’t we be the ones that change that cycle, instead of a different 20-odd players?

“They just need to go out and do it. I don’t know whether it’s about taking the shackles off, but something needs to change.

“It’s up to us to do that and there’s no reason why they can’t play like they did against Chester on Tuesday every week. You need consistent levels of performance from everyone, but we only got that from two or three people like Kennedy Digie, Kallum Griffiths and Adam Bartlett and that gets you nowhere at any level of football.

“There are no excuses for that, because we are a professional football club and we do the right things every day. Teams that do well perform week after week, and the players get everything they need to prepare them to win football games.”

Summarising where he felt the game was lost, Collins added: “I thought we were quite solid defensively in the first half, but a bit flat and, then, the second half was nowhere near good enough. They had a lot of possession and we invited them up the pitch.

“We looked a bit better for a spell after we conceded the first goal, but that has set alarm bells ringing for me too, because people are then playing under a different type of pressure having gone behind. I see what the players can do in training but, when it really matters on a Saturday and you’re fighting for your bonuses, you need people to stand up, be brave, take the ball, win headers and fight and scrap, but we didn’t do that in the second half.

“With Joe Ironside and Jordan Burrow in the team, we were also putting balls up to them that they had to chase around with their heads, but I don’t want that. I want the ball to be put up there with quality for them.”

Following Hancock’s 90th-minute third goal for the hosts, there were unsavoury scenes when a City supporter ran on to the pitch and aggressively confronted Collins in front of the visitors’ dugout.

In the absence of any stewards, physio Ian Gallagher forcibly led the offender off the pitch with Collins commenting: “I don’t know what he said, and I didn’t hear anything.

“Being honest, I understand everybody’s frustrated, because I am more than anyone, but what happened does not look good on us as a football club. If people want to shout and show their frustration that way that’s absolutely fine, but what was he going to do?

“He’ll get himself in trouble doing that and I’m quite a big lad as well, so he’s got to be careful.”