STEVE Watson hailed the “most complete performance” during his five-game reign as York City manager following a 2-0 home win over Ashton United.

Having seen his new team concede 11 goals in the previous four games, Watson celebrated his first clean sheet in charge and, despite Jordan Burrow’s match-winning brace coming late on following 83rd and 89th-minute efforts, the former Gateshead boss insisted the Minstermen were worthy winners of maximum points.

At the other end, Ashton only managed two on-target efforts – both headers from skipper Luke Ashworth, with one cleared off the line by David Ferguson and the other hitting the outside of an upright, prompting a pleased Watson to declare: “It was a solid display and, while the goals didn’t come until late on and I can understand people getting impatient, nobody will roll over for us in this league, especially when you’ve been in the bottom third for so long.

“Adam Bartlett didn’t have a save to make though and it was the first time we’ve looked completely on the ball defensively and didn’t look like we were going to concede over 90 minutes. We also looked like we weren’t going to drop off the pace for the first time and I thought we ran them into the ground.

“We had five or six sitters and created enough chances to win three or four games, so we got exactly what we deserved and, hopefully, we can exude a bit more confidence now going forward. It was our most complete performance so far, but we will get better, because I hope we can play better football further down the line.”

Watson dispensed with his favoured 3-5-2 formation, which he had employed for the previous three games, admitting that a four-man defence is probably more appropriate for the personnel currently at his disposal, with full-backs Kallum Griffiths and David Ferguson both recalled and Sean Newton partnering David Mirfin at centre-half. “We changed system because, as much as I want to play that way, the players are probably not quite ready for it and I thought we played a lot better at the back,” Watson reasoned. “I know Newts can play a number of positions and I wanted to see him play alongside David Mirfin and I thought they were solid.

“The full-backs are proper full-backs too, so the system probably suited them more and, maybe, it was a lesson learned for me.”

In a 4-2-3-1 formation, meanwhile, Adriano Moke and Scott Burgess were also restored to the first XI as midfield anchormen, while Wes York, Alex Kempster and Jake Wright provided attacking support for Burrow.

Explaining his tactical approach, Watson added: “We went with four strikers on the pitch because I wanted to attack and be in the opposition half for most of the game, which we were, and there was also good energy from our midfielders Moke and Burgess.”

Burrow’s goals took his tally to 17 for the season and Watson went on to extol his all-round contribution, saying: “Jordan will give you the same performance every week in terms of effort, attitude and reliability.

“He’s good defensively in our box, good at holding the ball up, always wins a lot of headers and is a nightmare to play against. His goal return for a team that’s been in the bottom third isn’t bad either.

“He’s doing great for me and does a great job for you even when he doesn’t score.”

Having not featured in the matchday squad for the previous two games, Jon Parkin was also used as a 68th-minute substitute and Watson was pleased to have the veteran striker back in the fold, pointing out: “It was good to get Parky back out there.

“He’s a big character in and around the dressing room and he made a bit of a difference in terms of helping us get up the pitch.”

Centre-back Tom Bradbury was not involved, however, after three successive starts with the on-loan Dundee reserve taken out of the firing line.

“Tom got a kick and, in fairness, he has come to us from under-23s football and been thrown in at the deep end a bit, so I thought it might be the time to give him a breather,” Watson explained.

The Minstermen's North Riding Senior Cup semi-final at Scarborough Athletic has been confirmed for Tuesday, March 5, kick-off 7.45pm.

Admission will be £8 for adults, £4 for under-16s, pensioners and students and free for under-11s.