NEAL ARDLEY admitted that his York City players mood was 'down' after a narrow 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup second round.

Stephen Humphrys goal was the only difference between the two sides in front of the BBC television cameras, with York exiting the FA Cup after a respectable display in front of a bumper crowd at the LNER Community Stadium. 

Ardley admitted that the mood in the changing rooms was flat after the defeat, but hopes his side can find consistency with some tricky Vanarama National League fixtures approaching.

“They’re down. They feel like they’ve had a right good go and they feel like they’ve executed the game plan, but at the end of the day football is down to fine margins that none of us could control," Ardley confessed.

"Lenny (Lenell John-Lewis) had a couple of great chances to score, and we made a mistake at the other end.

"In between that, there was a lot of effort, a lot of great defending, a lot of guts in what we did and it came down to fine margins.

“I don’t think we’ve been consistent all season, but we need to take the positives from today into our cup game next week.

"We can hopefully get one or two players recovering from injury into that one and then we’ve got to carry that into a tough schedule now, with Rochdale and Ebbsfleet games.

"We’ve got to make sure we put points on the board, but the boys are having a go, there’s a good team spirit and we’ve got to make sure we have consistency.

“I thought the game plan was good, the plan for 70 minutes was to make sure we were still in the tie.

"It’s just one mis-timed header, in the first half they got in a couple of times because we weren’t tracking runners and we were getting opened up, and in the second half it was just that one moment.

"When you’re 1-0 down it’s hard, because you're now the team in the ascendancy. In the last 20 we tried to press high, we caused them a few problems and Lenny had two big chances.

“If we were going to win today we had to be mistake-free and we had take our chances when they come, which we knew would be three or four chances.

"The effort, the game plan, the executing of it was really, really good against a team that is causing a lot of teams a lot of problems in League One, that struggled to break us down.

“We couldn’t let the game be open, if the game was open then it would suit them.

"In the end, we threw caution to the wind and nearly nicked the equaliser, people can say ‘why didn’t you start like that?’ but it doesn’t work like that.

"You have to make sure you’re in the game and that it’s a proper tie, and I thought we did that."

Ardley also explained the decision-making behind his starting eleven, with Olly Green and Maziar Kouhyar surprisingly dropping to the bench, and the thinking behind his decision.

“Greeny struggled to get in for the match prep, which is never easy if he was going to play today as he can’t do what we’ve worked on.

"Maz hasn’t been 100 per cent all week and hasn’t been feeling himself.

"Today we needed legs, and I knew that the outside of the midfield would be in, out and running and Paddy (McLaughlin) and Dys (Olly Dyson) would have to do a lot of mucky work.

"We had to put the bodies in there that we knew would know what they are doing in those positions."