YORK City boss Steve Watson admitted he was left “mind-boggled” by the manner in which his new team were beaten 2-1 at home by fellow strugglers Hereford.

The Minstermen led 1-0 at the break through Alex Kempster’s ninth-minute goal during a half in which the visitors only mustered one shot of any description.

But two goals in four second-half minutes from Danny Greenslade and sub James Waite saw the struggling Bulls leapfrog their hosts in the table, prompting Watson to lament: “Their second goal came so quickly after their first and that’s a totally unacceptable mentality.

“The team’s response when things go badly is mind-boggling. Heads go down, the confidence wanes straight away and all the people who were looking for the ball before stop doing that.

“We had to make three changes which were disruptive because of injuries, but that’s no excuse for the capitulation in between both goals.”

City went into the break with Dan Parslow (concussion), Kempster (dead leg) and Paddy McLaughlin (hamstring) all suffering from complaints.

Parslow was immediately withdrawn, while Kempster lasted just four minutes after the restart and McLaughlin was taken off on 69 minutes.

Whilst accepting no mitigation for the defeat, Watson felt the loss of Kempster was keenly felt in particular, adding: “Alex Kempster was constantly getting in behind them and closing them down.

“He looked like he could get one or two more goals, but he got a dead leg after being hit by a decent challenge.”

Keeper Adam Bartlett, meanwhile, was partly culpable for both Bulls goals, following on from errors in Watson’s first two games at the helm against Stockport and Chorley, with the former Gateshead boss suggesting that the ex-England C international also needs to demonstrate greater resilience in the face of adversity.

“The goals came down to two mistakes,” Watson said. “The ball went in between the wall for the first goal and under the keeper again and then there was a slip for the second.

“But Adam is an experienced keeper who needs to get up and make everybody confident again. Everybody makes mistakes and there’s been a few goals that he could have done a bit better with since I’ve been here, but we need him bouncing and getting everybody going.

“That’s how you respond to setbacks but, at the moment, we respond to them terribly.”

Watson went on to stress that he is looking for better standards at both ends of the pitch.

“I thought we played some good football and the first half was a real step in the right direction but, with the chances we had, the game should have been dead and buried,” he pointed out. “We’ve also conceded 11 goals in four games and that’s for a manager who always starts with the mindset of being solid at the back.

“We’ve changed it so many times with individuals not being available, but I’ve not yet put a back three together that I’m totally at ease with.”