"IF you can't handle the pressure, you're not going to get where you need to be."

That was the assessment of manager Steve Watson following York City's 1-0 defeat to Hereford on Tuesday night.

Despite the two sides going into the National League North fixture in completely contrasting form - City on the back of a four-game winning run and basement side Hereford winless in the league - York never looked like dominating.

The fixture was settled just over 10 minutes from time by a craven and catastrophic set of passes back to keeper Pete Jameson, who could not prevent Tom Owen-Evans rounding him and slotting into an empty net.

If the expectation going into the game made players nervous, Watson has a clear message.

"We ended up back at Pete too many times and we've got too many good footballers to need to do that," he said.

"It's strange. We never do that on a daily basis on training. Everybody is on the half-turn, popping the ball around in triangles.

"As a group, certainly the lads on the pitch, they've got to have the confidence and the belief in themselves to do that.

"I've brought good footballers to the club but if they're not getting on the ball, and not finding themselves in positions where they can get on the ball, we'll never play the way we know we're capable of.

"You have to overcome that (nervousness). There's only you who can get yourself over that.

"The confidence to get on the ball is a massive part of that. You see the really, really good teams, they all want the ball, all the time.

"The goal against almost sums up the lack of confidence and belief because you end up back at the keeper three passes after having a throw-in in their half.

"The confidence that we showed in pre-season is because there is no pressure on those games.

"If you want to be a big club like York City - myself included - if you can't handle the pressure, you're not going to get where you need to be.

"That's the challenge for the boys now.

"We have to all step it up, me included - me mainly, because I'm the manager.

"I don't think anybody would disagree we've got as good a squad as anybody in the league but the results aren't telling you that."

This was the fifth consecutive time York have failed to beat Hereford since they reformed in 2014. Though not as dramatic a loss as 2019's 4-1 defeat, this was still gutting for York, who drop back to 12th in the table.

"It was tough to watch so many chances going begging," Watson said. "Free headers from five, six yards out and not even working the keeper.

"I said on Saturday that was one of the worst goals you'll ever see against - maybe I stand corrected.

"It's really tough to take.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting here thinking we've played fantastically tonight, but I am sitting here thinking we've had enough chances to win the game.

"That's twice we've played Hereford in a night-time game. The first time we were top of the league, and that was a bitter pill to swallow because it was a heavy defeat.

"That's stopped a little bit of momentum. We've got to get going again."