YORK City's National League North play-off aspirations took another hit as they were soundly beaten 3-0 at Kidderminster Harriers.

The Minstermen started the day just three points outside the top seven - but that gap never looked like narrowing once the hosts took the lead.

High-flying Kiddy have promotion aspirations of their own, as well as challenging in the FA Cup after an outstanding win against Reading in the third round.

And the feel-good mood rang around Aggborough once more as the Harriers comprehensively put City to the sword.

Former Minsterman Amari Morgan-Smith opened the scoring with a neat finish after rounding Pete Jameson and Omari Sterling added a superb free kick before the break.

Lacking in invention and quality on the ball, any threat City might have possessed was extinguished by the 75th minute, when Sam Austin skidded in a third.

There were four changes for York from their FA Trophy win over Slough Town last Saturday.

Interim boss John Askey was able to name Michael Woods in the side for the first time since he aggravated an Achilles injury at Boston in October. He came into the starting midfield line-up with Paddy McLaughlin missing.

Fresh from signing a permanent deal with City, Remy Longdon came into the 11 after missing out last week, as did fellow wing-man Jack McKay.

Kurt Willoughby dropped to the bench as left-back Scott Barrow returned to action.

Kidderminster boss and former Minsterman Russ Penn picked a few familiar names for City fans, with Luke Simpson in goal, FA Cup hero Amari Morgan-Smith up front and veteran Keith Lowe on the bench.

Winger Omari Sterling was given the chance to replicate his scintillating performance from Kiddy’s season-opening win at the LNER Community Stadium. Match-winning goalscorer that day Sam Austin took the captain’s armband.

City made a battling start, which – even if lacking in finesse – contributed to the entertaining opening exchanges. Determined close pressing from both McKay and Sean Newton gave away free kicks, the latter of which ended with Alex Penny going close.

Longdon put a volley just wide for York after Olly Dyson’s inswinging free kick was cleared to the winger inside the area.

After an opening five-minute period of nearly uninterrupted home possession, City started to find their feet, but looked second-best. Newton inexplicably gave away the ball when he let it run away from his control while looking for a pass.

The opener arrived from Morgan-Smith after 19 minutes. The former City striker received a long ball over the top of a high defensive line, played onside by a hobbling Barrow (who looked to be suffering the after-effects of a loose challenge which earned Penny a yellow). He rounded Pete Jameson and curled in neatly from a narrow angle.

Things could have got worse for York in the immediate aftermath as errors – such as Maxim Kouogun losing the ball while trying to run it out from defence – threatened to keep the initiative firmly with Kidderminster.

The visitors got themselves back into a bit of a rhythm with a decent spell on the ball, kept scrappily at times, but they could not force a chance.

Soon enough, Kidderminster had the upper hand again, and Hancox gave away a free kick around 40 yards out. Sterling struck it very sweetly with his instep, sending it dipping perfectly over Jameson and into the back of the net.

Kidderminster thoroughly deserved their half-time lead, having outclassed City almost to a man and starved their opponents of meaningful chances. Longdon's off-target volley was the only sight of goal York had had in the opening 45 minutes at Aggborough.

York were lacking on the ball, and anything down the attacking left was pretty well dealt with by Penny, but the credit must go to Kidderminster, who were very impressive.

City opened the second half better than they had finished the first, eventually working a half-chance – which Woods scuffed softly wide – and a crossing opportunity for Longdon following a neatly dinked ball from Duckworth, though Simpson claimed it fairly easily.

The skilful Sterling took another crack at Jameson’s net from a free kick after he was upended by Duckworth, who received a booking in the process. Striking it with the same knuckleball technique as his goal, the ball this time stayed low but Jameson caught the swerving effort.

There were flurries of end-to-end action, as in the first half, with Dyson and McKay doing well to keep a ball alive at the far attacking end and fashion a blocked chance for Dyson. At the other end, Kiddy saw an Austin drive blocked away.

With a quarter of an hour to go, it was three to Kiddy and game over for York. Austin received a bobbling ball into the area and made good enough contact to send it skimming and bouncing into the Jameson’s bottom-left corner.

Kidderminster: Simpson, Penny, Richards, Austin (Dinanga 76), Carrington, Morgan-Smith (White 83), Hemmings, Sterling, Bajrami, Redmond (Martin 64), Preston. Subs not used: Lowe, Foulkes.

Goals: Morgan-Smith (19), Sterling (42), Austin (75)

Yellow cards: Penny

York: Jameson 5, Duckworth 5, Kouogun 4 (Brown 5, HT), Newton 4, Barrow 4, Dyson 5, Woods 5 (Willoughby 4, 70), Hancox 5, Longdon 5, McKay 5, Donaldson 5. Subs not used: Campbell, Haase, James.

Star man: Olly Dyson. It was slim pickings in the hunt for a player who stood out on Saturday. Dyson kept himself busy and battled with some flair.

Yellow cards: Duckworth

Referee: Dale Baines

Attendance: 2,444 (237 away supporters)

Stats for Kidderminster | York

Shots (on target): 7 (4) | 2 (0)

Corners: 5 | 2

Offsides: 2 | 3

Fouls: 6 | 7

Yellow cards: 1 | 1