YORK City fell four points off the pace at the top of National League North after losing 1-0 at table-toppers King's Lynn Town.

In a potentially decisive game of high quality, it was an unfortunate slip the difference between the sides as keeper Pete Jameson fumbled the impressive Simon Power's shot and the top scorer Adam Marriott slid in to punish him.

That aside, there was so little between the sides. The game had everything a top-of-the-table clash should, played at a high pace and intensity throughout, and was a fine advert for the division.

The raucous celebrations at the final whistle told everything about how important this game was to King's Lynn.

For the third week in a row, York boss Steve Watson named an unchanged starting 11. The only difference between the teams from the back-to-back 2-0 wins over Southport and Telford was the much-anticipated return of Dan Maguire to the bench, at the expense of centre-back Josh King.

Maguire was one of three forward-minded players on the bench alongside Macaulay Langstaff and Elliott Durrell, who got the much-needed opener last Saturday.

King’s Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse – fresh from being rewarded with a renewed two-and-a-half year contract with the Linnets – made five changes to the squad from the 3-0 league win over Spennymoor Town.

Among those, Nathan Fox, Alfie Payne and Sonny Carey all dropped to the bench, with Ross Barrows, Ryan Jarvis and Chris Smith all coming into the starting line-up.

Linnets fans also got their first sighting of Norwich City loanee Simon Power. The 21-year-old Irishman is yet to turn out for the Canaries but has featured for Scottish Premiership outfit Ross County.

The league’s top scorer Adam Marriott unsurprisingly retained his place in attack alongside former Minsterman Michael Gash.

King’s Lynn dominated the early possession and got away the first attempt on goal, a header well over from Aaron Jones’ free kick. Rory McAuley had gone down following contact from behind from Sean Newton, who felt he had been harshly dealt with.

It had taken York the best part of seven minutes to get the ball out of their own half for any length of time, but Jordan Burrow managed to glance a header from a right-wing cross. It was comfortably wide.

Both sides looked up for the occasion and, despite the heavy pitch, there were flashes of exciting play during the opening quarter of an hour. Alex Kempster was looking lively for York and was brought down heavily by Smith as he looked to use his lightning pace to get on the end of a flick-on. Just after the quarter-hour mark, he flashed a shot across the face of goal after good work from Kieran Green down the right touchline.

At the other end, Chris Henderson was left to run for an uncomfortably long time before David Ferguson hoofed away his blocked effort from the edge of the area.

Power was living up to his name down the Linnets’ left and looked threating with his strong play. A fantastic flick and spin – think Dennis Bergkamp against Newcastle – took him away from Kallum Griffiths in midfield but he could not find the cross.

Joe Tait got the best chance of the half midway through the 45 when a corner fell kindly for him in the penalty area. From five yards out, he was foiled by the mass of bodies on the line. Green had won the first of the pair of corners with a drive and shot towards Alex Street’s bottom-left corner.

There was a huge roar of excitement from the hosts as Power broke with pace towards York’s back line and cleverly fed Marriott, who could only find a white-and-maroon shirt with his effort.

The striker missed another chance to add to his 24 league goals this season when he dragged wide from just inside the area, not long after the potent York striker Kempster had spurned a chance of his own. He latched on to a flick-on from a throw and, in space in the area, unselfishly chose to lay it back to Paddy McLaughlin, who could not quite reach the ball.

There was a real sense of danger each time either Marriott of Power got on the ball in the attacking third. The latter saw a shot well blocked by Tait, while good link-up play down the left ended with Power pulling a cross back behind Marriott.

As half-time approached, it was very hard to choose between the sides. Both had their chances, though few were clear-cut. The football on show was possibly the highlight of the half with some real moments of quality from the two sides.

After just three minutes of the second half, both Green and Kempster had had good chances on goal. Green should have done much better with his, dragging it well wide when unchallenged, while Kempster forced Street to save low from a tight angle.

Pete Jameson had to make his most significant save of the game from a Gash free kick, which spun towards goal after taking a deflection, and he had to be alert to keep out Chris Henderson’s cross-cum-shot at the near post.

York made threatening inroads towards King’s Lynn’s box with Adriano Moke marauding down the left and playing in Kempster, whose shot with the ball coming across him was tame.

After a left-footed effort a few minutes earlier, Newton came closer with his right, driving narrowly wide from range.

His efforts at the other end were even more telling. The pacey Power turned Griffiths inside-out on his way into the area and trickled a ball into the six-yard box. It was bound for a blue and gold shirt, but for Newton’s vital interception.

Marriott opened the scoring in the 67th minute. Power again wreaked havoc on Griffiths, who slipped and allowed the Norwich man a shooting opportunity. Jameson spilled and Marriott slid in to poke it home.

Moke earned himself a late yellow card for kicking the ball away after conceding a throw in. the petulance of his action and reaction earned him strong words from Tait and captain Steve McNulty.

Newton again tested Street from distance with an 85th-minute free kick.

King’s Lynn: Street, Jones, Barrows, Jarvis, Smith, McAuley, Power, Richards (Payne 31), Gash, Marriott, Henderson. Subs not used: Kelly, Hawkins, Fox, Carey.

Goals: Marriott

Yellow cards: Jarvis

York: Jameson 7, Griffiths 4 (Langstaff 7, 74), Tait 7, McNulty 8, Newton 7, Ferguson 7, McLaughlin 8, Moke 6, Green 8, Kempster 7 (Maguire 7, 58), Burrow 7. Subs not used: Whitley, Bond, Durrell.

Yellow cards: Newton, Moke

Star man: Kieran Green. Like Power, continues to show himself as an impressive midfield powerhouse with plenty of room for development.

Referee: Rob Whitton