YORK CITY manager Steve Watson has lamented his side’s second half performance against Darlington, despite them scoring both goals in that period in their 2-0 win in the North East.

Heading into the break scoreless, a pair of stunning strikes from Alex Kempster and then Paddy McLaughlin in the last 45 minutes secured York’s return to the top of the National League North table.

York were on the back foot for large spells of the half with Darlington striking a post and creating several other dangerous chances.

And Watson believes that his side must improve if they are to fulfil their long-term ambition of promotion.

“For me, the second half performance wasn’t good enough,” said Watson. “Obviously, I’m delighted to have come away with the three points.

“But I said to the lads in the changing room, ‘let’s not kid ourselves, if we can’t improve on that performance then we can’t get where we need to be’.

“The lads know that and they’re accepting of that. In the second half, we couldn’t get any spells of play with the ball.

“They kept finding space going forward and we weren’t as sharp to the ball as they were.

“Everything that they did quickly, we weren’t ready for it. It was a really tough hard-working win in the end.

“I don’t know if my heart will be able to cope with many more second half performances like that.

“It was a tough game but we made it tough for ourselves. I wasn’t disappointed with the first half at all, we were up against quite a strong wind and we were penned in our own half for long periods.

“We kept our shape well and defended the box really well. On top of that, we probably still had the best chances in the half.

“As has been our way of late, we didn’t manage to make the most of that situation. We were happy enough at half-time because we knew that the wind would help us in the second half.

“It might not look it, but I am delighted with the points.”

Once again victory came at a cost for York, with Kieran Green forced off after just 25 minutes due to injury and wing back Kallum Griffiths ruled out only on Friday because of an ankle problem.

They join an ever-increasing injury list for York with striker Dan Maguire still around a month away from returning and captain Steve McNulty still sidelined.

“We’ve not had any luck with injuries lately, but we’ve found a way through it,” Watson said.

“Griffiths’ injury only happened on Friday. He walked off from training very early in the session.

“It wasn’t a kick that’s hit him, we think it’s a turn or a jar, or something like that.

“With Greeny, I’ve got a feeling, because he’s desperate to play – he’s that type of character - that he’d been feeling it for quite a long time.

“People like Paddy, Newton and McNulty, they know their body and they’ll know when something’s not right.

“Young lads like Greeny are desperate to play, but in the long run, it’s not going to do us or him any favours.

“We need to educate the young lads about that, about what’s an injury that you can play through and what isn’t.”

Before the game, City announced the signing of former Birmingham striker Kyle McFarlane, who was on the bench.

Defender Charlie Jebson-King, meanwhile, has signed his first pro contract with the club.