1 The team need Jon Parkin back as soon as possible

A blank scoresheet on Saturday meant, from their last ten fixtures, the Minstermen have only scored more than once during the 3-2 home victory over Southport. As former City defender John McCombe acknowledged before the match, any side will miss their 25-goal top scorer, especially one with Parkin’s Championship pedigree at a stage of the season when his experience and mental strength could prove invaluable.

Manager Martin Gray reasoned that he was without his three first-choice attackers against Harrogate but, while Alex Kempster and Louis Almond both have their merits, the former is still relatively untested in sixth-tier football and the latter’s contributions have been curtailed by injury this term. Parkin is clearly the biggest loss, quite literally too, given nobody from within the squad can match his physical presence either.

The selection of the team’s only recognised centre forwards James Gray and Raul Correia on the bench also highlighted their shortcomings since joining the club, with neither player an improvement on Amari Morgan-Smith, who left for Telford in February. Rushing Parkin back from knee surgery could carry its own problems, but he is the galvanising spearhead that City need to salvage what they want from a season where the first priority must now be to cling on to that final play-off spot.

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2 Connor Smith will always give his all, but he’s not a centre forward

With Parkin and Kempster ruled out and Correia and Gray unfancied, Gray asked winger Smith to lead the line against Harrogate. He assumed the responsibility with the same eagerness that he has when asked to play other largely unfamiliar roles such as right-back and troubled the away defence early on when he used his superior pace to burst past John McCombe.

In allowing the former City defender to recover and make a tackle, though, Smith demonstrated a lack of ruthlessness that has seen him only net once in 36 professional matches. Nor did he capitalise on his speed again to pose McCombe problems and the hallmark of any successful striker is the ability to expose any advantage they might have over their opponent.

Nevertheless, Smith did produce arguably City’s best shot of the match – a thumping edge-of-the-box drive that required a flying save from away keeper James Belshaw and should not have harmed his prospects of selection in other areas of the pitch.

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3 Jake Wright unsettles defences at National League North level

After arriving on loan at Bootham Crescent last season from Sheffield United, Wright might only have gone on to score once in seven appearances for the Minstermen, but his aggressive manner and work-rate meant he was one of former boss Jackie McNamara’s more memorable recruits. His opening goal for Harrogate was a reward for a determined and positive personality as he charged at City defender Dan Parslow before trying his luck from an acute angle with a shot that he could not have hit much sweeter.

Wright’s willingness to fight for the cause and literally put his head on the line also saw him dazed and substituted just past the hour mark, but his afternoon’s work had still played a major role in securing a precious three points for his team.

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4 Forward frailties heighten the cost of defensive mistakes

City chief Gray was understandably frustrated by the nature in which his team conceded twice after the game but, in hindsight, the team’s lack of potency was always going to heap pressure on the defensive line against a side that has considerably outscored every other team in the division and plundered more than 100 goals this term. For long periods, however, the visitors were kept quiet and did not manage their first goal attempt until the 40th minute.

In fact, from the seven chances Harrogate created, only two – Wright’s goal and Dom Knowles’ scuffed second-half effort – came from moves in open play. That still makes the poor marking for the second goal, albeit assisted by an excellent free kick delivery from Joe Leesley, frustrating.

But, until the game became stretched late on, City should take a little solace from the reality that they looked defensively well-organised and were rarely carved open against a team that have scored four or more goals on ten occasions this season.

York Press: York City fans in the David Longhurst stand

5 The City faithful never cease to surprise

Despite a growing level of discontent with off-pitch turmoil and on-pitch under-achievement, the crowds at Bootham Crescent continue to be way out of proportion with what is expected in English football’s sixth tier. An attendance of 3,562, including just over 3,000 home fans, was more than double the number that turned up for Barnet v Forest Green, as both clubs fight to stay in the Football League.

The gate was also a thousand more than that for the Cheltenham v Morecambe match and bettered those at play-off chasing Mansfield v Crewe and Colchester v top-of-the-table Accrington. In the National League, meanwhile, the 3,979 that watched Leyton Orient’s 4-1 victory over Barrow was the only attendance higher than that at the North Yorkshire derby.

Of all the problems that have contributed to back-to-back relegations and an unexpected struggle to keep up with National League North’s pacesetters, the club can count itself fortunate that the numbers coming through the turnstiles have remained steadfastly high, having not once dropped under 2,000 for a league game.