NEAL ARDLEY hailed the efforts of his York City players after a 1-0 victory away to Southend United. 

Lenell John-Lewis' 88th minute strike earned York a crucial three points to add to the gap between City and the Vanarama National League relegation zone, with the Minstermen leapfrogging Southend in the table in the process. 

Ardley was delighted with the work rate of his players, admitting that the performance was 'ugly', with City now in 17th position after protecting a valuable clean sheet at Roots Hall.

"To come away from home and do that, it takes a lot effort," Ardley enthused to BBC Radio York.

"At times it was ugly, I’m not going to lie, it was ugly but I couldn’t come here and play a nice slow game because I think that they would have run all over us.

“I’ve played here enough times and I know Kev’s team and the intensity they play at.

"We showed the lads footage of their game at Gateshead, they must have put ten crosses in in the first 15 minutes and we knew that was going to be a big threat.

"They’re a big team and we worked hard on getting out and stopping crosses, we worked hard at getting out and doing our jobs, you have to do that.

"They had three clear cut chances, two in the first half and a few as the game wore on, that’s hard to do and a lot of hardwork that has to go into that.

"We’ve probably had three, Dipo has gone in one-on-one, we’ve had the chance with Ryan (Fallowfield) and Will Daves has hit the post. 

“Our job is to stay up, I could come and say that we deserved more and you’d say that we’re in the relegation zone.

"I'm just trying to get points, stay up and build from there.

"This is a massive three points, we’ve now got to go and back it up with our home games now and add to it.

"The team I picked today was a running team, a team that will run and all cover, we had players in there that ran 12k or 11k because that’s what we had to do today to get a result.

“We stood up and rode our luck, George (Sykes-Kenworthy) made an unbelievable save and Woody (Alex Woodyard) made a goal line clearance and celebrated it all the way up the pitch.

"It takes a lot of hard work to come to Southend and get a win."

Ardley was also delighted with the impact of striker John-Lewis after his introduction from the substitution's bench, and credited the City captain for his attitude as of late.

“Lenny, I don’t care what people say, Lenny is one of the best characters that I have ever worked with.

"He’s captain for a reason, he’s an unbelievable character, he always adds something to the game when he comes on and obviously we have flogged him like a dead horse earlier in the season because we only had the two of them (strikers).

"His effectiveness when he comes on, his knowhow, is exceptional.

"I’ve just said to all the players in there, even those who haven’t travelled, that we’re going to need everyone.

"We’ve got 10 games in six weeks and I’m going to need everyone, whether if it is Michael Duckworth to give us fresh legs, whether if it is Tyler (Cordner) coming in at centre-halve, we’re going to need everybody."