1 Alex Pattison offered a new dimension to City’s attacking play

City chief Martin Gray was keen to focus on the positives following his team’s Trophy exit and the on-loan Middlesbrough midfielder’s second-half performances was arguably the biggest cause for encouragement. Completely peripheral during the opening 45 minutes as Kidderminster dominated possession, he also struggled to suffocate confident deep-lying ball-player Ryan Croasdale, but Pattison imposed himself on proceedings after the interval, displaying a willingness to charge into the penalty box which has been scarcely seen from players in his position this term.

Operating in the hole behind a front two of Jon Parkin and James Gray, Pattison will need to justify that tactical approach, if it is to be repeated, by being constantly involved in matters, otherwise his employment there can easily look like a luxury that can cause more damage than good. But his ability to get on the ball and drive at defenders was a refreshing sight from that area of the pitch and the fielding of a narrow three-man midfield was designed to give him that freedom.

With Pattison making no effort to hide the fact that he is targeting a January move to a Football League outfit, the next three weeks can benefit both him and the club if he asserts himself during this one-month loan spell.

York Press:

2 Teams at this level always give you a chance

Despite a Kidderminster National League North-standard masterclass in possession football that had everybody of a City persuasion alarmed at the apparent gulf in class between the two teams, it was the visitors who would end the game having managed the most goal attempts and won the greater number of corners. The Harriers were also clinging on at the end, illustrating the rewards at this level for teams prepared to get on the front foot against opponents.

Runaway leaders Salford have twice looked vulnerable during second-half comebacks in which the Minstermen have scored four goals on their Lancashire outfit’s own soil this season. This weekend’s visitors to Bootham Crescent - high-scoring Blyth Spartans - have mounted a challenge on the higher reaches of the table, meanwhile, with an all-out attacking style that has won them more games than they have lost, while drawing none and letting in just one and two goals less than relegation strugglers Nuneaton and Gainsborough respectively.

Elsewhere, another play-off challenger Bradford Park Avenue went down 4-3 to Tamworth over the weekend at their Horsfall Stadium, where City smashed in five goals with no reply back in August. Just as the Minstermen ended up sharing the spoils at Leamington after dictating matters for long periods, matches are rarely well managed to the final minute in English football’s sixth tier.

Attack is often the best form of defence, unless a pattern of solidity can be found to counter the gung-ho tactics of many teams and City have now gone 14 games without a clean sheet.

York Press:

3 Martin Gray can now be judged on his team more fairly

Saturday’s line-up included seven of the former Darlington manager’s signings – the most in any side this term. Only Hamza Bencherif, Adriano Moke, Sean Newton and Jon Parkin were selected from the players Gray inherited on his arrival at Bootham Crescent.

It would seem that the City boss is now happier with the make-up of his squad, given his positive appraisal at the final whistle, although substitutes Josh Law, Amari Morgan-Smith and Aidan Connolly were prominent in the second-half improvement. Loyal servant Dan Parslow was surprisingly dropped to the bench, though, with Alex Whittle again left out completely and the next few weeks will provide an interesting insight into how Gray intends to proceed personnel wise.

The new faces will certainly need to justify their recruitment and preference to older ones.

York Press:

4 Defensive errors persisted even after significant surgery

Despite three of City’s back four – Daniel Rowe, Jonny Burn and David Ferguson – along with goalkeeper Adam Bartlett, being Gray recruits, the visitors will have been disappointed by the manner in which they shipped two goals in as many minutes. In nine out of their last ten away games, City have now conceded two or more goals.

Having to net at least three times every game on the road is clearly not compatible with a successful push for the play-offs and has to be rectified. Sean Newton’s injury arguably played a part in the first goal, although it was disappointing that home defender James Pearson was the most alert player when the ball dropped from the air in the penalty box.

The second goal was more unforgivable as Ferguson was caught napping in a manner not dissimilar to the slack play that saw Law lose his place in the team following the 3-1 Trophy victory over Coalville.

York Press:

5 City’s players must meet club expectations to avoid losing the support of long-suffering fans

There is an understandable sense of disillusionment at City’s current plight, with the team sitting 11th in National League North and that was reflected by the number of supporters who made the trip to Aggborough. It was admittedly a cold December afternoon less than a fortnight before Christmas and early days in the Trophy, but it is difficult to recall a match where City’s away following only numbered double-figures.

A tally of 89 fans suggested that only the steadfastly loyal fancied this fixture and a strong performance will be needed at home to Blyth this weekend to reignite some enthusiasm for this season into certain sections of the despairing Minstermen faithful.