STEVE WATSON says he was pleased with the result of his new tactical system following York City’s 3-1 opening day victory at Altrincham.

As he has done throughout pre-season, Watson fielded a three-man defence with Steve McNulty in the middle alongside Joe Tait and Sean Newton.

Ryan Griffiths and David Ferguson occupied the places at wing back, the latter playing a key role in City’s first two goals.

While still describing the formation as a “work in progress”, Watson was pleased with the outcome of the change.

“I like playing the system with three at the back,” explained the manager.

“It’s a system that I’ve played at Gateshead and we had a good first half to the season there playing that way.

“I think that we’ve got the personnel to play that way as well. I recruited in the summer looking to play that system and we’ve played it during our pre-season matches.

“It’s still a work in progress and by no means are we the finished article just yet. But, at the moment, it’s looking like that system could work for us.”

“Going down that left side, David (Ferguson) has been outstanding during pre-season and he’s taken that form into the game, I thought that he was a real threat.

“In that second half, I thought (Kallum) Griffiths was the same down the other side in the second half. He got that little bit higher than he was in the first half.

“That made a big difference to our play in the second half.”

Altrincham were favourites heading into the contest having earned a spot in the play-offs last season and completed the double over York last term.

The hosts started well and took an early lead through James Jones. But three unanswered goals from Ferguson, Joe Tait and Jordan Burrow secured the Minstermen the points.

“It is a big win for the team but it’s also a case of, now that we’ve beaten them they’re now out of the way for a while!” added Watson.

“Before a game, I’m always positive, but really I knew that this was one of the toughest games to start our season.

“It was tough, make no mistake and despite what the score line may suggest. I was really pleased with our second half performance, I thought we looked solid and strong.

“I knew as soon as the fixtures were released that this was going to be one of the hardest away games of the season, especially to start the season.

“I really like Altrincham as a side, I think that play a really good style of football. It’s tough to play against and I thought we handled it a lot better in the second half.

“I thought that we were a little bit deep in the first half and a bit reluctant to be brave and play high with the ball as we did in the second half.

“I thought that we looked like a much better outfit in the second half and we deservedly won the game.

“As I said, it’s a really tough start for us, Altrincham were top-scorers in the league last season and we only conceded to them from a set-play.

“All in all, I think that they will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

“With that said, I’m really pleased with the win.”

Watson handed five players their York debuts, with first appearances going to McNulty, Peter Jameson, Andy Bond and Kieran Green.

“Most of our new lads started apart from Kieran (Green), who came off the bench,” said Watson of the new additions.

“They’re a good group, who get on great. During this pre-season, when I try to put a squad together, I try to build a good dressing room.

“We’ve got a group of about 19 or 20 players and I’d be confident of putting any of them in and knowing that they wouldn’t let me down.”