JAKE HYDE and Wes Fletcher were the heroes as York City mounted a stirring fight-back to grab a 2-2 draw with Cambridge United at Bootham Crescent.
The Minstermen were by far the better outfit but they found themselves two goals down late in the first half after Tom Elliott and a Kwesi Appiah penalty put the visitors in charge.
But Hyde was the lethal predator three minutes before the break – poking home at the near post – and, in a second half utterly dominated by York, they got their rewards with eight minutes remaining as Fletcher sent his own spot kick down the middle after he was pulled back in the area.
Trailing 2-1 at the break, manager Nigel Worthington had pulled no punches either.
Goalkeeper Jason Mooney, who had endured a difficult first half, was substituted as Michael Ingham returned to competitive action for the first time since January.
York could have scored twice in the opening 40 seconds. Coulson unleashed an arrowing shot from just outside the area towards the top corner only for Chris Dunn to acrobatically move to his left and tip it over the bar.
From the corner, Keith Lowe moved unmarked onto Lindon Meikle’s delivery and his planted downward header struck the Cambridge keeper’s right post.
Just two minutes later, Hyde found himself with room to shoot on the angle about ten yards out but Dunn denied City with his legs.
York continued to create chances but United warned them their continued profligacy in front of goal would eventually be punished.
Elliott was booked for diving on ten minutes after Mooney caught neither the ball nor the man as the Cambridge striker swept through the City defence.
The Minstermen keeper, given his height, looked surprisingly vulnerable under the high ball and also when under pressure but he made a good save – staying big and spreading his body – to deny Elliott on the quarter-hour mark after he intelligently ran on to Appiah’s threaded delivery through the heart of the 18-yard box.
At the other end, Coulson then hooked wide of the far post and hit a firm shot into the side netting before Cambridge finally punished York.
Dunn’s long free kick towards the edge of the area was speculative at best but, with Mooney in two minds whether to come or not, Elliott got on top of a defender and powered his header into the keeper’s far left corner.
The home side’s task quickly got even harder.
Elliott was again the tormentor and, as he caused havoc in the box yet again, Lowe came across with a sliding tackle.
The forward went down and referee Richard Clark pointed to the spot. Appiah sent Mooney the wrong way – calmly slotting the ball into the left corner.
Worthington’s men had a huge mountain to climb but, importantly, they reduced the deficit three minutes before the break when Coulson’s pin-point cross from the right was converted at the near post by a sliding Hyde.
York began strongly again on the restart, Straker narrowly failing to find the far post with a shot from the far left of the penalty area and Ilseanmi just clearing the crossbar from range.
As the hour mark approached, Dunn somehow managed to get in the way after Hyde deflected Summerfield’s effort goalwards.
Fletcher came on with 20 minutes remaining to further bolster City’s attack, replacing Hyde, and he was straight into the action – but he couldn’t get a toe onto Straker’s devilish cross through the heart of the Cambridge six-yard area.
Coulson then fired straight at Dunn from ten yards with time starting to run out and fans wondering if the equaliser was sever going to come.
It did with eight minutes remaining.
Tom Bonner clearly pulled back Fletcher in the area and he put the subsequent spot kick straight down the middle.
Cambridge may still have won it late on with Ingham getting something on Liam Hughes’ shot and Josh Coulson blazing the follow up over the bar.
But, in contrast to all of their other three matches this season, they avoided late heartbreak and held on for a deserved point.
York City 2 (Hyde 42, Fletcher 83 pen), Cambridge 2 (Elliott 27, Appiah pen 37)
Jason Mooney 5, Marvin McCoy 7, Keith Lowe 6, John McCombe 6, Femi Ilesanmi 7, Lindon Meikle 7, Russell Penn 7, Anthony Straker 8, Luke Summerfield 8, Jake Hyde 7, Michael Coulson 7.
Subs: Michael Ingham (for Mooney 46, 6), Dave Winfield (for McCombe 46, 6), Wes Fletcher (for Hyde 70, 7). Not used: Parslow, Platt, Montrose, Hirst.
Chris Dunn, Liam Hughes, Josh Coulson, Tom Bonner, Greg Taylor, Luke Chadwick (Sam Whittall 60), Tom Champion, Robbie Simpson (Delano Sam-Yorke 61), Ryan Donaldson, Tom Elliott (Richard Tait 50), Kwesi Appiah. Subs not used: Adam Cunningham, Will Norris, Johnny Hunt, Harry Lennon.
Referee: Richard Clark (Northumberland).
Bookings: Elliott 6, J Coulson 65, Penn 69, Bonner 83.
Red cards: None.
Attendance: 3,175 (291 away fans).
Shots on target: City 5, The U’s 6.
Shots off target: City 8, The U’s 3.
Corners: City 7, The U’s 2.
Fouls conceded: City 10, The U’s 10.
Offsides: City 0, The U’s 3.