THERE are some games where you have to just hold your hands up at the end of the day and say it wasn’t going to be. Saturday’s defeat at home to York City was one of them.

You can huff and you can puff all you like but if blowing down houses is not necessarily your forte, then games against top sides like York are going to be a big ask and that’s before the regular parade of individual errors are punished with laser-like precision.

Like a lot of Darlo fans, I wasn’t feeling mega-confident pre-game. York, clearly the big spenders of the division once again, appear to have gotten their act together. They’ve appointed a really good manager in Steve Watson and recruited well during the summer. They’re clearly not messing around and having made an excellent start to the season, I was wary. Although some of their more high-profile summer signings were unavailable due to injury, they have a big squad and ample cover. Sadly, due to a brutal run of bad fortune with injuries, that is something we can’t say.

Despite my pre-game pessimism, we actually played well. We kept York away from our goal for long periods and we gave them plenty to think about. Our football was neat and tidy and we kept them honest. Sadly, we couldn’t make good possession count and it once again came around to bite us in the derrière. Mistake made, goal conceded. Objectively, you have to be quite impressed with the quality in this league and how teams have repeatedly punished our mistakes. There is no safety net for the kind of mistakes we make which is why we’ve lost as many games as we have so early in the season.

Although I thought we edged the game for the best part of 70 minutes, I couldn’t help but be a bit impressed with York. They were far from brilliant but they used their physicality, their stamina and their organisation to keep us at bay. They’ve conceded just six goals in 11 games, a record which suggests getting in behind them is a tough task. In the last 20 minutes, they properly put the squeeze on our tired and battle-weary side.

You could easily have come away from Blackwell Meadows thinking little of our visitors but for me they looked right in the same groove at Stockport from last season. Nothing fancy or flashy. Just strong, fit and organised footballers going about their business. The team that finishes above them will win the league.

As for us, well can we catch a break? Having seen Josh Heaton leave, we then watch Louis Laing come off injured with what looked like a pulled muscle and Terry Galbraith having to nurse his hamstring through the final stages. I don’t know whether Alun Armstrong has a habit of walking under ladders but our luck is well and truly out.

If you discount the two errors for the goals, all the players put in decent performances. I was particularly pleased with how Ben Hedley settled into his role at right-back. I’m not sure he’s had much football recently which probably explains why he was a bit leggy towards the end, but that’s understandable. I’ve also been impressed with how well Joe Wheatley has done coming back into the side following his injury. He seems to have gotten up to speed very quickly.

Individual mistakes are continuing to hurt us. I’m sure the players making them are frustrated with themselves. If we can just be a bit more sensible in our decision making, things will begin to turnaround. If we can find the level of performance on Saturday with a little bit more cutting edge on a consistent basis, I’ll be more than happy.