1 Set-piece issues returned to rear their ugly head

York City have undoubtedly improved as a defensive unit in general play under Steve Watson. During his 14 matches at the helm, only eight goals have been conceded from open play, which represents exactly half the number shipped in that manner over the final 14 fixtures under his predecessor Sam Collins’ tenure.

Following Chester’s two goals, however, there remains little discernible difference between the figures for goals let in from dead-ball situations from one manager to the next – seven in 14 games for Watson and eight in 14 for Collins. It appeared progress had been made on that front too with City having not been breached from a corner or a free kick in any of their six matches prior to their trip to the Deva Stadium – a run that bettered the previous longest sequence, set back on September 1, by two games.

That spell also represented a significant improvement on the five set-play efforts conceded in six contests at the start of Watson’s reign, as he assessed the vulnerabilities of his new squad. Chester’s first goal can clearly be written off as a goalkeeping error, but the second will have irritated more, with a failure to win the first or second phase of play from Iwan Murray’s flag kick reminiscent of the frailties that alarmed the ex-Everton and Newcastle defender during his early days in the job.

Frustratingly, the visitors were also forced to share the spoils even though their higher-placed hosts had not managed a shot of any description before Sean Newton’s 48th-minute own goal and wouldn’t do until just past the hour mark. In fact, Chester only created two chances in open play all match – both from outside of the box – courtesy of Antony Dudley and Bradley Jackson efforts.

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2 Jordan Burrow is in big need of a goal

Considering he has been directly involved in 28 of City’s 66 goals this season – hitting the target 17 times and claiming 11 assists – the visitors’ number nine did not merit the abuse and derision delivered by one very small contingent of the away following at Chester during shooting practice in front of the travelling end before the match. He is, however, in desperate need of a goal, having now endured his longest barren run in a City shirt.

After failing to net in nine games – or ten if the North Riding Cup semi-final against Scarborough is to be included – the chief concern for Burrow will be the list of missed chances during that period is not a long one either. City boss Watson will be hoping the ex-Stevenage striker can now get himself into better goalscoring positions during the final three games of the campaign.

The Minstermen created ten opportunities on Saturday but none of them led to Burrow efforts and, from looking nailed on to reach 20 goals for the season when he was last on the scoresheet with a brace against Ashton United more than two months ago, that landmark now looks a long shot.

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3 Teenage keeper Ryan Whitley faces an early test of character

When Adam Bartlett had an error-prone spell during Steve Watson’s early days in charge, the former England C international had the experience of more than 13 years of senior football to draw upon. Even then, it can be difficult to recover from a rough patch and keeper’s reputations can plummet very quickly, even at the top level, as has been witnessed by Joe Hart’s fall from his status as one of the world’s highest-rated net-minders to Burnley reserve at the age of 31.

At 19 – and with only two first-team appearances to his name in the game’s most unforgiving position – Whitley will need good support and a strong positive mindset to bounce back from his costly misjudgement at Chester.

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4 City have lost too many points from winning positions

Being pegged back twice by Chester meant the Minstermen have now thrown away 17 points from winning positions this season, including six during their last five matches with Boston and Guiseley having also come back to earn shares of the spoils. The gap to third-placed Brackley, meanwhile, currently stands at 15 points.

In contrast, Saturday’s hosts Chester have only surrendered seven points in games they have led in this term. City’s tally is still some way short of the 28 points second-bottom FC United of Manchester have foregone when in the ascendancy, but it is not commensurate with a full-time side whose fitness levels would, according to former boss Martin Gray, help the team finish fixtures strongly and, accordingly, might be expected to see them hold on to advantages with fewer difficulties.

York Press:

5 Former PE teacher Alex Kempster is looking a little jaded

Perhaps surprisingly, since he had only been handed one substitute outing under Sam Collins before being loaned out to Spennymoor for a month, Kempster has started 13 Steve Watson's 14 matches as manager. Hailed as the team’s most potent attacking force during Watson’s early contests in charge, the ex-Whitley Bay attacker’s influence has waned, though, in recent matches and, during the last ten fixtures, he has only managed one goal and failed to provide an assist from his position out on the flanks.

In that time, Kempster has still demonstrated an ability to commit opponents and drive forward with the ball, but has often failed to show the composure needed to capitalise on that part of his game by delivering a measured cross or executing a clinical finish when he has worked himself into dangerous positions. That might be explained by mental and physical fatigue for a player who has never had such a sustained run of starts in the professional game.