York boss Nigel Worthington admitted his side were second best in the 2-0 defeat to Chesterfield.
The Spireites made a fine start and took the lead after two minutes through Eoin Doyle before Gary Roberts doubled the lead six minutes before the interval.
Worthington believes his team were far from their best and their sloppy start ended up costing them dearly.
"After two minutes we go a goal down, not through good play by them, and it puts us on the back foot from the start," he admitted.
"After the second goal we were all over the park. There was a lack of life and brightness and that's unusual from us.
"The second goal was our corner and they score. That's not supposed to happen in football, but if you're not on the front foot then you pay the price. At two goals down you're not out of it but we found it difficult to get a goal.
"The game on Saturday we performed but it was a disappointing result that probably flattered Hartlepool. You've got to be ready for every game in any league.
"If you start slowly, like we did here, it's like pushing water uphill and in the end it overpowers you. We were second in every challenge and that's far from a winning recipe."