STEVE WATSON called for reflection on how far the club has come in such a short space of time following York City’s 1-0 defeat to Altrincham in the FA Trophy.

Tom Peers scored the only goal of the game at Bootham Crescent to knock City out of the competition, having done the same in the FA Cup only 13 days earlier.

Those two defeats, with a first National League North loss to Curzon Ashton sandwiched in between, means York have lost all of their last three games 1-0, excluding the North Riding Senior Cup.

After such a fine start to the season, which saw York go unbeaten in their opening 16 league games, the run threatens to derail a campaign which seemed heading for promotion.

Watson though called for perspective to be had after the defeat, stating that the club’s recent woes serve to highlight the difficulties of the football at their tier.

“It was another frustrating afternoon as part of a frustrating 10 days, there’s no getting away from that,” reflected Watson.

“I think we’ve started the season better than anybody would have ever envisaged and sometimes you’ve just got to step back and realise that we’ve been here less than 10 months - and only six or seven months football-wise.

“We’re sitting second-from-top of the league with a game in hand.

“I said to the players in there (the dressing room),’if we’d have done it the other way round and we were in the top eight and then crept up into the top four and then to the top of the league, everyone would be a cock-a-hoop.

“I’ve tried my best to manage expectations and maybe the players and the fans got that excited that they thought that it was going to be easy.

“These last three games have proved that it isn’t.”

The manager drew similarities to the club’s last league game at Curzon Ashton, which they also lost 1-0.

“The game wasn’t a million miles away from how last week panned out,” he added.

“We tried something something different by playing 3-4-3 and we wanted to press them higher up the pitch.

“When we did well against them (Altrincham) at the start of the season, it was because we pressed high and we thought that would work (again).

“There wasn’t a lot in the first-half and I’m certainly not trying to use any excuses of luck.

“But nothing has dropped for us in the past three or four games.

“It was a bit like last week as we moved to a back-four and, if anything, we looked less open, which gives me food for thought.”

Trailing 1-0 at half-time, Watson brought Kieran Green on for Harry Spratt and switched from 3-4-4 to 4-3-3.

Watson added: “There were no faults in Harry Spratt’s first half but, because of the balance of the team and because Newts (Sean Newton) is one of our stand-out players, we thought that going to a (back) four was the only option to get a foothold back in the game.

“We did that and again, like last week, we had them on the back foot for large spells.

“To simplify it, the reason we haven’t won is because we’ve scored one goal in four games.

“That tells you everything you need to know.

“Did we play brilliantly? No. But there were a lot of games at the start of the season where we didn’t play brilliantly, like against King’s Lynn but we had that quality when we needed to.

“We haven’t got that quality at the moment, no matter what system we play. That’s no excuse for the lack of quality with the ball.

“I don’t accuse any of my players of not wanting the ball, but they’re not being clever enough or looking after it well enough.

“The energy level, because we’re not keeping the ball well enough, wasn’t where it was at the start of the season.

“Altrincham are a very good side at keeping the ball, but at the start of the season we soaked up that pressure and we were ruthless when we had the ball.

“We were stretching teams a lot more too. We’ve got away from that.

“A lot of that is down to confidence. It’s not easy to soak up pressure at home, because the supporters get frustrated and impatient, even though there is a game plan, like there was against King’s Lynn.

“If they’ve got the ball in their own penalty area and they’re playing it back to their keeper, sometimes you’ve got to accept that that’s okay, as long as you’re in the game.

“I think we got frustrated, our midfielders were just going forward without any game plan of how to get on the ball.”

Read our full match report on York City v Altrincham here>>