Red Rewind: City rally to shake the Quakers
Substitute Ashley Chambers inspired a blistering recovery after the visitors trailed by two-goals early in the second-half to a patched-up Darlington side.
The Quakers shocked their high-flying opponents with goals from Adam Rundle and John McReady either side of the interval, those in front of a bumper 6,413 attendance including more than 1,300 travelling York fans.
But following a couple of quick alterations and a formation switch, City replied with a rapid 65-second brace as Chambers allowed skipper Chris Smith to head in before himself claiming a well-taken equaliser.
York's massed bank of travelling fans earlier demonstrated their absolute support for beleaguered Darlington, who could have been playing their last-ever game with the threat of closure still hanging over them, courtesy of a heart-warming 'Football United' display.
The Minstermen gave a full debut to recent signing Matthew Blinkhorn, while Andre Boucaud was recalled into midfield with Scott Brown still out suspended.
But it was Marc Bridge-Wilkinson having an early attempt comfortably gathered by Michael Ingham before Blinkhorn flicked on for Matty Blair to hoist well over.
The visitors were as expected dictating all the possession and typically trying to pass their way through their deep-lying opponents. On loan England youth international goalkeeper Jordan Pickford soon grabbed at the second attempt to deny Danny Pilkington - and with Blinkhorn ready to pounce.
However, York weren't managing to exert any sustained pressure on the teenage Sunderland goalkeeper and it was his opposite number Ingham collecting a deflected effort from Rundle before Dale Hopson drove wide.
Pilkington did cut in from the left and see his shot divert through to Pickford with five minutes remaining of the opening half. Experienced home defender Paul Arnison received a knock at the same time and had to be replaced.
Darlington took a shock lead a couple of minutes later though, when the visitors afforded Bridge-Wilkinson far too much space from a short corner and his cross deflected ideally for Rundle to force in at close-range.
Ryan Bowman then delivered a dangerous low ball for the suitably inspired hosts before York instantly replied when Scott Kerr's shot was charged down after Pilkington's corner had been headed back by Daniel Parslow.
There was still sufficient time remaining in the opening half for Pickford to turn over a late Pilkington drive as his side reached the interval with an unlikely lead.
Unsurprisingly York came out fast at the start of the second-half with Blair winning an early corner and Boucaud seeing a shot deflected behind after a couple of trademark drag-backs.
But the visitors were rocked again as Boucaud misplaced a 49th minute pass and the hosts took advantage with the lively McReady slotting in after being set up by Aaron Brown.
York manager Gary Mills made an immediate double-change with Chambers and Jamie Reed replacing Pilkington and Boucaud in a revised 4-4-2 formation.
However, it was the busy McReady again threatening - until Ingham saved, before the visitors incredibly struck twice to level during a frantic 65 seconds.
Firstly skipper Smith doubled his tally for the season when heading in from the second of two quick corners delivered by Chambers, who moments later collected from fellow substitute Reed and struck his ninth goal of the campaign.
Back came the valiant Quakers with McReady again having an effort deflected behind and both Reed and Chambers seeing replies blocked. Patrick McLaughlin then had a 25-yard free-kick flipped over by Pickford, who also gathered Parslow's header from Chambers' corner.
The momentum appeared totally with the visitors and it was perhaps something of a surprise when Jamal Fyfield replaced striker Blinkhorn with eighteen minutes remaining. As it was Fyfield's hanging cross was soon dropped by Pickford before McReady was again off-target at the opposite end.
Goalscorer Chambers had an 83rd minute free-kick turned over by Pickford, and the seventeen-year-old keeper also held on from Jon Challinor before Darlington's Scott Harrison headed wide from Rundle's corner with a couple of minutes remaining.
Chambers then tried to chip the keeper moments later, and McLaughlin had a shot blocked before the busy Pickford clutched onto his instant follow-up during four minutes of added time.
Darlington: Pickford, Arnison (P. Gray 41), Brown, Taylor, Harrison, McReady, Rundle, Hopson (J. Gray 76), Bridge-Wilkinson, Bowman, Ramshaw
subs (unused): Nixon, Lambert, Barton
Goals: Rundle (43), McReady (49)
York City: Ingham, Challinor, Parslow, Smith, Meredith, Kerr, Boucaud (Reed 54), McLaughlin, Blair, Blinkhorn (Fyfield 73), Pilkington (Chambers 54)
subs (unused): McGurk, Potts
Goals: Smith (60), Chambers (61)
Ref: D. Handley (Lancs)
Att: 6,413 (1,358 York)
Video Link: YorkCityTV