YORK City boss Sam Collins cast aspersions on his side’s Christmas Day behaviour following a 5-1 thrashing at Darlington.

The Minstermen chief allowed his players to spend December 25 with their families rather than train the day before the derby clash but was left searching for explanations after a performance he described as “flat after ten minutes”.

Goals from Andrew Nelson and Harvey Saunders gave the home side a 2-0 lead before City winger Alex Bray was red carded for a second bookable offence on the stroke of half-time.

Nelson and Jordan Nicholson went on to extend the Quakers’ lead and, after sub Jake Wright responded with a consolation for the visitors, Liam Hughes completed the rout on 80 minutes, leading an exasperated Collins to confess: “When I see my team get rolled over like that, it hurts a lot.

“They were a really young team, whereas we have plenty of experience in our side and it worries me in terms of what our players did on Christmas Day because I can’t understand for the life in me why we were so flat, and I’ve got to get to the bottom of that. I feel let down, very angry and frustrated.

“The Darlington lads probably had the same schedule, but they looked full of energy and wanted to have a fight and get on the ball and play. The goals we conceded were also totally unacceptable, coming straight down the heart of the pitch.”

Having passed the season’s midway point, City now find themselves sitting 14th in National League North – six points clear of the relegation zone and seven short of a play-off position – with Collins admitting the team’s inability to perform consistently could land them in trouble if not remedied.

“If we are consistent with our attitude and work-rate then I believe we have some good footballers to get us results but, if we have too many of those days when that’s not there, then it becomes a bit of a struggle,” he admitted.

Collins selected the same starting XI that defeated Brackley 2-1 at the weekend and, while keeper Adam Bartlett was again a clear man-of-the-match winner and skipper Jordan Burrow was absolved of blame again, few others escaped their manager’s wrath.

“I didn’t change the team, but I wished I had,” Collins declared. “You want to rely on people, but you can’t apart from three or four in certain positions and that’s not enough to win games on a regular basis.”

Refusing to accept Bray’s dismissal as mitigating circumstances for the team’s heaviest sixth-tier loss, Collins added: “It wasn’t a bad tackle and I don’t think Alex has that in him, but I understand why he was sent off and there are no excuses, because there were bigger problems than that.

“I don’t think the sending off even changed the game because we were already two goals down and we looked flat after ten minutes.”

New on-loan Harrogate Town midfielder Liam Agnew was given his debut, meanwhile, as a half-time substitute for the ineffective Joe Ironside, with Collins taking some solace from his display.

“We saw signs of the good footballer that he is,” the City chief said. “He created the goal and has lots of energy.

“He was also honest in terms of how he played. He knows a couple of lads from the past, but not many and he came in and had a go at a few people, which says a lot about him because he’s not going to stand for what he saw.”

Collins revealed, meanwhile, that Alex Harris has missed recent games due to a hamstring problem and that the temptation to rush Simon Heslop back too soon following knee surgery must still be resisted.