STEVE WATSON has admitted he would rather have been beaten in the FA Cup than in the National League North following York City's 1-0 defeat to Altrincham.

The manager also hopes the first round loss to a side City had won against in the league will serve as a wake-up call to anyone thinking this season would be easy after York's flying start to term.

City lacked composure and control on the ball against their high-intensity opponents, while Andy Bond missed a golden opportunity from 12 yards after Dan Maguire had been fouled in the area.

In the dying stages, Tom Peers seized the initiative from a good Jordan Hulme ball to put the tie to bed.

"We were poor with the ball today," Watson admitted. "I didn't think we were great against Kidderminster last week.

"I like to think as a staff, me and Micky are honest about things.

"We didn't create enough and didn't have enough passages of play.

"Too many players had an off-day with the ball and couldn't dig us out of it.

"We started badly after half-time.

"We went with Dan because against Kidderminster we went route one too often because Jordan is so physically good in the air.

"Even when we brought Jordan on we didn't create enough. I don't think we tested their goalie from open play.

"Obviously when you miss a penalty, you sometimes get the feeling it might not be your day.

"We're disappointed. We took the Cup very seriously because it's a big thing for the fans and financially for the club, but from a selfish point of view as a manager, would I rather be beaten in the FA Cup or next week? I'd rather it had never been, but it's going to happen.

"I just hope everybody realises how hard this league is and how hard this season is.

"They played well at home but we were strong and improved dramatically with the ball in the second half.

"Today it didn't happen.

"We had good chances - Newts hit the crossbar.

"We had the chance to put it right in the second half and, for the first time in a long time, that didn't happen.

"Today it just wasn't meant to be."

On the goal and next Saturday's trip to Curzon Ashton, he added: "We gave the ball away. Kempster ran the ball into a defender when we had good possession.

"Two passes and the ball's inside our box.

"It could be defended better - but I think you can say that about any goal.

"You never want to have something to act as a springboard for you.

"The first solid footballing performance where we've done what we know we can do was Stockport and that has to be a proverbial kick up the butt.

"If anybody was under any illusions how hard it is to go through the season, here we've been beaten by a team in our division who we beat in the league."