UNITED once again competed with one of the top sides in League 2 but a lack of penetration in attacking areas ended with York grabbing all three points.
Will Hayhurst scored the only goal with 11 minutes on the clock and all the brave Yellow work was, sadly, without reward.
United manager Chris Hargreaves sprung a surprise by re-introducing Niall Thompson for his first appearance since August in place of the suspended Shamir Goodwin on the right flank.
The other Yellow changes saw Ben Harding preferred in midfield to Damon Lathrope and Anthony O’Connor earned a recall at right-back ahead of Dale Tonge.
York boss Nigel Worthington made just one enforced change, replacing the injured Josh Carson with former Gull Ryan Jarvis.
A bright start from the Gulls saw the pace of Thompson as an obvious outlet, as decent skill from Billy Bodin spread the ball wide to the speedy winger, who won a corner, only for the referee to blow for a foul when the set-piece was delivered.
Disaster struck from York’s first attack, as a strike by Hayhurst took a wicked deflection off Aaron Downes and the ball whizzed past the stranded Martin Rice in the United goal.
It was unfortunate for the Yellows and perhaps symptomatic of the way this season has gone, but Hargreaves will question the urgency with which his defenders closed down Hayhurst before the shot.
The home side were naturally in rampant mood and terrific pace from Lanre Oyebanjo opened up space on the right wing and his cross was perfect for Jarvis, but O’Connor flung his body at the shot to make a fine block.
The worrying pattern continued with the Minstermen piling men forward and they came close to a second as Ryan Bowman found space to lash a well-struck shot narrowly wide.
York’s next attack earned them a corner and the Gulls fell asleep as the ball drifted over to Jarvis, who perhaps should have done better than steer the chance wide.
If there was a positive for United, it was the fact the deficit remained at one goal but the major problem was a distinct lack of threat in attacking areas, as the strike-partnership of Elliot Benyon and Enoch Showunmi struggled to gel.
United won a corner 10 minutes from the interval and the near-post delivery from Bodin picked out Harding, who was unfortunate to see his glancing header flash over the bar of an under-employed Nick Pope in the home goal.
A slightly improved spell next saw Thompson wriggle free from Ben Davies and his cross won a corner, which was whipped over by Bodin for Showunmi, but his powerful header was only a fraction off target.
The half ended with United winning a free-kick 23 yards from goal and a fierce drive by Lee Mansell found a gap in the wall, prompting a super save from Pope.
The Gulls entered the half-time break by winning a couple of corners and a generally improved display after such a slow start. It all gave hope for a massive second 45 minutes for everyone in Yellow.
Neither side made any changes at half-time and Michael Coulson wasted no time in having a pop at goal that only narrowly missed the goal. Adam Reed did hit the target moments later but Rice was equal to the challenge.
A good response from the Yellows saw Harding breaking through the middle but the midfielder failed to find the incisive run in-behind from Bodin.
A slip by Nicholson almost presented Hayhurst with his second goal of the night and the full-back’s under-hit header was mercifully crashed over the bar with Rice hopelessly exposed.
The game slipped into a serious lull, as both sides struggled to find their rhythm and Hargreaves turned to his bench with the introduction of Ashley Yeoman for Benyon.
United were more than competitive in the game and Bodin conjured some space for himself with quick feet on the edge of the box, but the eventual shot was comfortable for Pope.
Jayden Stockley replaced Showunmi in the next Yellow change for the final 20 minutes but United were on the back-foot, as Downes was forced into a brave block after a powerful effort from Jarvis.
United came back with a delightfully flowing move down the right and ball ended with O’Connor whipping over an excellent cross that forced Pope into an acrobatic tip over his own bar.
Worthington opted to make his first change by introducing Calvin Andrew for Jarvis in the closing 10 minutes but the new man had not touched the ball before a Bodin cross found Stockley, who was very unlucky to see his effort deflected wide.
United were now the side looking more likely to snatch a goal, particularly from a set-piece, and the latest Bodin cross found Downes, but the Australian was denied by an assured save from Pope.
It was, however, a forlorn hope for the Gulls and a failure to hit the net will again give everyone with a Yellow heart sleepless nights.
York (4-4-2): 31 Nick Pope; 2 Lanre Oyebanjo, 16 John McCombe, 15 Keith Lowe, 3 Ben Davies; 7 Michael Coulson, 37 Adam Reed, 10 Russell Penn, 26 Will Hayhurst (18 Tom Platt 88), 11 Ryan Jarvis (8 Calvin Andrew 80), 19 Ryan Bowman. Substitutes (not used): 5 David McGurk, 14 Lewis Montrose, 24 Michael Ingham (GK), 25 Chris Dickinson, 28 Sander Puri.
Booked: Davies 62
United (4-4-2): 13 Martin Rice; 29 Anthony O’Connor, 5 Krystian Pearce, 4 Aaron Downes, 3 Kevin Nicholson; 15 Niall Thompson, 7 Lee Mansell (capt), 8 Ben Harding, 10 Billy Bodin; 25 Enoch Showunmi (19 Jayden Stockley 70), 26 Elliot Benyon (14 Ashley Yeoman 65). Substitutes (not used): 1 Michael Poke (GK), 2 Dale Tonge, 6 Damon Lathrope, 9 Karl Hawley, 20 Nathan Craig.
Booked: Downes 19
Referee: Eddie Ilderton