York set up a club record last season for fewest goals conceded – 35 in 44 games – since the club was formed in 1922, but on Saturday the defence often looked shaky with Djoumin Sangare struggling at centre-half.
Defensive blunders coupled with a host of missed chances –- Richard Brodie squandered three – led to the defeat.
Michael Ingham misjudged Callum Giddings's 10th-minute inswinging corner which went in at the far post and although Alex Lawless drew a fine save from Dan Lewis half-a-dozen opportunities went begging and it was not until seven minutes from time that Michael Rankine equalised from the penalty spot after going down under Matty Blair's challenge.
York deserved that reward after attacking throughout the second half, but five minutes later Tom Shaw crossed and Duane Courtney pushed Chris McPhee for a clear penalty which Shaw converted.
York City: Ingham; Parslow, Sangare (Courtney 75), McGurk, Meredith; Lawless, Mackin (Tiff 68), Smith, Carruthers (Rankine 65); Brodie, Gash. Unused substitutes: Purcell, Barrett.
Kidderminster Harriers: Lewis; Shaw, Albrighton, Briscoe, Williams; Hankin (Griffiths 84), Briggs, Byrne, Gittings (Blair 75); McPhee, Morris (Wright 46). Unused substitutes: Sharpe, Stevens.
Referee: J Collin (Liverpool).
Man of the match: Alex Lawless.