THE top of the National League North table has become congested again after York City endured a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Southport.

Leaders King's Lynn Town picked up a point in a 2-2 draw at Spennymoor while third-placed Chester moved up to 21 points with a 3-1 home win over Guiseley.

And after City's midweek draw at the latter, Southport was something of a come-down.

The Minstermen were not on top form in possession and found themselves under the cosh more often than they would have liked by Southport, who were good value for their point.

Visiting skipper David Morgan opened the scoring nine minutes in before a toiling City equalised with minutes to go before the break through Alex Kempster.

York came out strongly at the start of the second half but could not maintain the intensity of a good opening quarter of an hour and fell into the bad habits of the first half

For the third game running, veteran centre-back Steve McNulty was absent with a hamstring injury. In his place came 19-year-old Harry Spratt, who impressed on Tuesday in the 0-0 draw at Guiseley on the left side of the back three.

At the top, striker Jordan Burrow was left out of the squad and replaced by Macaulay Langstaff for the latter's first start of the campaign.

Sean Newton took the captain's armband for the afternoon.

Former Minsterman loanee Raul Correia started up front for Liam Watson’s Southport. Jack Sampson, who has one goal to his name so far this season, joined him in attack, with Salford City man Kieran Glynn behind them in midfield.

On a youth loan from Accrington Stanley, Zehn Mohammed formed part of a four-man defence alongside Dean Winnard, with Welsh youth international Dan Hanford in goal.

Langstaff looked eager from the off but he had little service to work with as Southport played with the air of a side who might cause an upset. Three minutes in, the visitors had the ball in the net but it was chalked off for offside.

But before the 10-minutes mark they were in front through skipper Morgan, who put a 25-yard strike just under the crossbar and out of Peter Jameson’s reach. There did not look to be much danger but he saw his opportunity and took it well.

Barring a few moments in midfield, this was not York anywhere near their best, either in attack or defence. Correia, Sampson and Bauress were getting too much purchase in the Port’s attack while Alex Kempster and bright-starter Langstaff were barely involved.

Kieran Green showed flashes of good pace and strength in midfield, having twice got the better of Russell Benjamin in quick succession, but chances were scarcely forthcoming.

Quarter of an hour in, City could well have been level not too long after but Ryan Astles slid in to block Kallum Griffiths’ goal-bound effort from inside the area after good work from Langstaff and Kempster.

Around the midway point of the half, City started to get themselves back into contention, but it was still frustrating watching, aggravated by low-level time-wasting from Southport.

But for a foul in the build-up, Southport would have been just inches from a second. A poor Jameson throw out saw Spratt dispossessed by Correia. The ball was played out to Bauress, who cracked the corner of the goal frame.

After Griffiths’ blocked shot, York’s two best chances came from range. Andy Bond had a low effort surprisingly uncomfortably dealt with by keeper Hartford before Newton saw his free kick easily collected.

The pace of the game deteriorated for the final 15 minutes of the half as misplaced passes and poor crosses were punctuated by the referee’s whistle for vague, niggly fouls.

One such infraction earned Bauress the first yellow of the half as he pulled Bond to the ground. Bond’s ball in was just a fraction too far ahead for Kempster.

Morgan came close to a second. His scuffed volley was greeted by ironic cheers from the crowd, but Jameson had to be alert as it was dropping under his crossbar.

Southport would likely have been happy to head into the break one up – but it all finally clicked for York and Kempster drew them level. Adriano Moke was able to make his way into the box after a mazey run down the left and his ball in was spilled by Hanford, under pressure, giving Kempster an easy tap-in to level things before half-time.

City came out as if to make amends for the first half, Green sending Ferguson racing away down the left almost straight from kick off and he flashed a cross across the face of goal.

Bond took a heavy blow to the right ankle but, after a couple of minutes’ treatment, played on without too much encumberment.

Just eight minutes into the second period, York were looking far more incisive, particularly down the left.

Jameson was at full stretch 55 minutes in to keep out Bauress’ rising effort from distance. From the corner, City were able to break and Green was almost set through on goal, but the covering Kieran Glynn did well to hold him off.

Southport were more or less shooting on sight and were largely restricted to several wild off-target efforts, as well as a rather tame on-target one from Morgan. They had the ball in the net yet again but were denied for a foul on Jameson.

After York’s positive start to the half, they found themselves more under pressure than ever from the visitors and struggled to escape their defensive third for a fair portion of the half. Fortunately for City, Southport continued to lack composure in front of goal.

Having become something of a rarity again, City dug out an effort through Kempster, who sent the half-chance well over from a tough angle.

York picked up in the final 10 minutes but could not find that valuable second.

York: Jameson 7, Griffiths 6 (Dyer 85), Ferguson 7, Newton 7, Spratt 6, Tait 7, Moke 6, Bond 7, Langstaff 6 (York 7 64), Green 8, Kempster 7. Subs not used: Jebson-King, York, Whitley.

Goals: Kempster

Yellow cards: Bond

Star man: Kieran Green. Continues to grow into his role in this side, looking strong and lively on Saturday.

Southport: Hanford, Mohammed, Doyle, Winnard, Astles, Morgan, Glynn (Parry 90), Benjamin, Correia, Sampson (Green 45), Bauress. Subs not used: Woods, Lacey, Albinson.

Goals: Morgan

Yellow cards: Bauress, Mohammed

Attendance: 2,748

Referee: Mr Adam Herczeg