DAN MAGUIRE'S early second-half finish has sent York City back top of the National League North after they grabbed a valuable 1-0 win at Kidderminster.

Far from their best performance of the season, it was somewhat laboured and disjointed from City, who benefited from their hosts' inability to carve out any distinct chances just as much as they did from Maguire's sharpness in opportunism.

Mere seconds after the break, Harriers debutant Alex Penny failed to clear a defensive header and the grateful Maguire collected, advanced on keeper Will Mannion and slotted home.

Now in second place, King's Lynn Town's trip to Altrincham was postponed, meaning City are currently two points clear at the summit.

Manager Steve Watson made two notable changes to the York side that lost at Boston a fortnight ago.

Near ever-present centre-forward Jordan Burrow dropped to the bench alongside Kallum Griffiths, who is also among York’s most regular performers this season.

Up front was a new-look partnership in loanee Kurt Willoughby and Maguire, who came off the bench at Boston.

Another replacement at York Street, Andy Bond, also started at Aggborough.

Kidderminster boss Russ Penn made just the one change to the side that drew at Gateshead.

Recently signed from Boston United, defender Penny was making his first appearance for the Harriers, replacing Ryan Johnson in the starting line-up.

As well as coming up against former players in Penn and 13-goal top scorer Ashley Chambers, York also faced Keith Lowe for the third time this season. The veteran signed from Bradford Park Avenue not long after the New Year’s Day fixture at Bootham Crescent.

There were early signs that an entertaining game might break out. It felt competitive but lacked a lot of control on the ball.

Willoughby made himself known to the back two, threatening runs through off the shoulder, without looking likely to latch onto anything. He and Maguire almost linked up a couple of times with little success.

Ashley Hemmings came within a whisker of curling Kidderminster into the lead. Sean Newton conceded a free kick to the left of Pete Jameson’s box with a clumsy challenge and Hemmings’ left-footer sailed just beyond the far top corner of the goal-frame.

The first real neat passage of play produced a decent but challenging opportunity for Maguire. Bond did well to hold off and spin away from Alex Prosser – who had earlier fired well wide – in his own half and get the ball to Kieran Green, whose first-time ball around the corner found Willoughby in space and got York out of a tricky spot. Willoughby played in Maguire on the edge of the area but, muscled in-between the centre-backs, his tame shot was easily collected.

Good play down Kidderminster’s left between Sam Austin and Ollie Shenton cut York open and Steve McNulty was needed to slide and clear for a corner, which was headed just over by Milan Butterfield.

Austin got away Kidderminster’s first shot on target as the hosts grew into the game. McNulty was caught on the ball between Shenton and Chambers, the latter releasing Austin for a left-footed strike from distance. Jameson palmed away confidently, and David Ferguson blocked the incoming follow-up from Penny.

Another corner sailed over to an unmarked Lowe at the back post and his lofted ball back in was headed into the ground and over by Butterfield inside the six-yard box.

A couple of moments seemed to encapsulate York’s struggle to get a foothold in the game. Their longest period of pressure in the Kidderminster defensive third ended when Newton hammered a cross-field ball out of play, while Green was shown a yellow for a studs-up challenge in the air on Lowe.

The midfielder then contorted himself to get to a header – which, despite his considerable efforts, went a fair way over – just after Griffiths came on for the ailing McLaughlin, who had taken a couple of heavy knocks, and relieved Moke on the wing.

Kidderminster were much the happier side at half-time. Their flutter of pressure midway through the half aside, they had ably smothered much of their visitors’ threat.

York needed a response – and it came within 30 seconds of the restart as Maguire found himself one-on-one with keeper Will Mannion from a poor headed clearance by Penny. He comfortably buried his left-footed chance.

Harriers ramped up the pressure in a bid to pull back level but were restricted to long-range efforts. Hemmings saw one easily saved and Joe Tait denied another with a flying block.

The hosts again fell into the pattern of the first half, enjoying the higher quality possession, but doing little with it.

Burrow, who had come on for goalscorer Maguire, put a header just wide of Mannion’s right-hand post from a Newton corner, while Chambers glanced one also narrowly off-target.

With 15 minutes remaining, Butterfield had two chances in quick succession. The first, which was blocked, came as he collected Newton’s clearance on the edge of the area before he fired just over.

Hemmings, cutting in from the left, had York hearts in mouths as he forced Jameson to tip over - which itself was headed agonisingly close.

Kidderminster: Mannion, Penny, Austin, R Williams (Johnson 66), Moyo, Lowe, Prosser, Butterfield, Chambers (Samuels 81), Hemmings, Shenton (E Williams 62). Subs not used: Palmer, Freemantle.

York: Jameson 8, Bond 5, Tait 8, McNulty 7, Newton 7, Ferguson 7, Moke 5, McLaughlin 6 (Griffiths 6, 41), Green 7, Maguire 6 (Burrow 7, 62), Willoughby 7 (Kempster 7, 79). Subs not used: King, York.

Yellow cards: Green

Star man: Pete Jameson. Did not have a great deal to really test him throughout but his vital tip over the bar towards the end surely won York the three points.

Referee: Richard Holmes

Attendance: 1,574 (281 away supporters)