YORK City manager Gary Mills refused to berate his players after a 94th-minute goal cost the team maximum points at Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.

Late lapses from captain Chris Smith and goalkeeper Michael Ingham saw James Norwood grab a stoppage-time equaliser for the hosts after City substitute Jamie Reed had broken the deadlock on 83 minutes.

Mills, though, was in no mood for recriminations at the final whistle despite being handed a cruel reminder of the wisdom of his former mentor Brian Clough.

The City chief said: “A draw at Forest Green is a good point but when you come so close to three it’s difficult to take.

“The players are down because we were 15 seconds away from an absolutely magnificent result but you cannot switch off at any level.

“My old gaffer used to say ‘it only takes a second to score a goal’ and Saturday proved he was right. But we came away to a team in good form and you could see why they are.

“They are a good side and, in difficult conditions, I thought my players were superb – we were solid, had a good shape and got a goal. I’d like to see their equaliser again before saying anything but you can’t let the last 15 seconds of the game detract from what was a good away performance.”

Mills added, however, his side might have protected their lead in a more canny manner during the closing stages, recalling former striker Michael Rankine’s ball-shielding prowess in such circumstances last season.

The City boss said: “We could have kept the ball better in their corner during injury time. I remember us doing that for five minutes once last season but we couldn’t do it for five seconds on Saturday.

“When you are 1-0 up, killing the game is a major part of football but I don’t want to point fingers at anybody.”

Added Mills: “We’ve got to take it on the chin and make sure we come out fighting and get a win tomorrow at home to Lincoln.”

New loan signing Moses Ashikodi was handed his full debut for City, deputising as the suspended Jason Walker’s replacement in the side’s lone central striker role.

About his display, Mills said: “I thought he did okay. It was hard for him coming into a side like ourselves playing down the middle.”

Reed was introduced for the former England under-19 international and, on his impact, the Bootham Crescent boss added: “He won a penalty and stuck it in so fair play to him. I’m pleased for him because it’s not easy to come off the bench into a game like that."

City will learn today who their opponents will be in the FA Trophy first round to be played on Saturday, December 10.