York Knights fell to a narrow 14-8 defeat away to third-placed Batley Bulldogs at the Fox's Biscuits Stadium.
James Glover put York ahead midway through the first half before Elliot Kear and Kieran Buchanan tries either side of half time as well as a James Meadows penalty put Batley 10-4 by the hour mark.
Jesse Dee cut the deficit to just two points for the Knights but the visitors were unable find a winner, with Dale Morton's late try sealing the points for Batley.
Despite being without nine players through injury, York pushed last year's Betfred Championship Grand Finalists Batley all the way in West Yorkshire.
After an arm-wrestle of an opening first quarter, York took the lead on 21 minutes as an opportunistic Glover charged over from 10m out via dummy-half, although the centre was unable to convert his own try.
AJ Towse appeared to have doubled the Knights' advantage just shy of the half-hour mark, but his finish in the left corner was ruled out for a knock-on from Dee during the build-up.
The Knights were unable to hold onto their lead by the break as Kear went over in the left corner from Kieran Buchanan’s offload.
York made a slow start to the second half as errors allowed the home side valuable field position from which Buchanan crossed the whitewash from Josh Woods’ pass.
A second missed conversion by James Meadows followed but he later converted a penalty from in front of the sticks after an offside from a scrum to give Batley a six-point lead.
York responded through Dee with 20 minutes to go. The stand-in half-back reached out to ground after a clever step at the line for his third try in three weeks.
Myles Harrison took over from the kicking duties, but the winger was unable to add the extras.
Oli Pratt came close to finding a winner after James Cunningham's break, but despite the Knights' best efforts an elusive third try eluded them.
Batley confirmed the two points with a minute to go, as Morton dived in from a right-hand overlap.
Batley: McGowan, Morton, Hodson, Buchanan, Kear, White, Woods, Gledhill, Kaye, Flynn, Manning, Walshaw, Reilly
Subs (all used): Senior, Ward, Blake, Meadows
18th Player: Burton
Tries: Kear (38’), Buchanan (49’), Morton (79’)
Goals: Meadows (1/4)
York: Brown, Harrison, Pratt, Glover, Towse, Dee, Daley, Kirby, Jubb, Fitzsimmons, Clarkson, Field, Cunningham
Subs (all used): Teanby, Michael, Ta’ai. Subs not used: Barnard
18th Player: Ward
Tries: Glover (21’), Dee (59’)
Goals: Glover (0/1), Harrison (0/1)