YORK City are into the semi-finals of the Vanarama National League North play-offs after defeating Chorley 2-1 at a packed LNER Community Stadium.

York capitalised on Chorley errors in defence in both halves and properly punished the visitors when given the chance to do so.

Lenell John-Lewis get in behind after Scott Leather’s backwards header to lob in the opener and Mitch Hancox reasserted City’s lead after half time by nicking the ball off the goalkeeper and tidy finishing.

In-between, York’s set-piece defending problems continue as Connor Hall steered in from a clever free-kick routine.

Such issues though seem trivial particularly given the atmosphere at the Community Stadium, which saw a ground-record 6,394 in attendance, the biggest home crowd for a York home match in 15 years.

Added to that is the fact that York now sit only two wins away from promotion back to the National League.

At this stage of the season, grinding out wins are all that matters and, now having lost just one of their last nine matches, City will surely enter Saturday’s semi-final at Brackley Town (3pm) in confident spirits.

The performances of York’s loanees, Hancox and John-Lewis also breed positivity and the goal-scoring pair were among three starting 11 changes made by John Askey, alongside Jack McKay.

As a result, Michael Woods, Kurt Willoughby and Clayton Donaldson dropped to the bench.

Manager Askey is often keen to downplay his own personal impact and instead praise his players but even he may have conceded that the recall of John-Lewis had an immediate early impact.

Chorley captain Scott Leather misjudged a header near halfway and the York target man raced onto the loose ball before lobbing the on-rushing Matt Urwin and cueing pandemonium among the packed stands.

The 10th-minute goal settled the match down after a nervy start from both sides in which the loud atmosphere appeared to have a keen impact.

York had a couple of further opportunities, with McKay struggling to find his feet in the box for a shot while the evening stand-in captain Paddy McLaughlin hit a strike straight at Irwin inside the penalty area.

Chorley though worked themselves back into the game and built some pressure before an equaliser that felt hard to begrudge the visitors.

However, that it arrived from a set piece, a particular weakness of York’s throughout this season, will have frustrated City immensely.

Adam Blakeman’s free-kick was headed back across goal by Jack Sampson and Connor Hall was lurking at the back post to turn the ball in.

Two flares were let off in the away end afterwards, foreshadowing some of the ugly post-match scenes.

While Chorley saw plenty of the ball from then until half time, York were the side creating the better chances.

On the stroke of the break, Hancox struck a fine half-volley which Urwin tremendously saved despite it looking set for the top corner.

Then, John-Lewis put in a low cross to McKay who ran ahead of the target and put his near-post effort wide.

At that point, Chorley may well have welcomed the interval but the Minstermen soon picked up from where they left off.

Maziar Kouhyar caused Chorley’s defence problems all night and his cross picked out an unmarked McKay who chose to a pass (to Chorley’s defence it would turn out) rather than a shot despite the space he found himself in.

Ultimately, that mattered little as York regained the lead only a few seconds later. Kouhyar lofted a hopeful pass forward which Urwin came to collect but made a complete mess of under the pressing of Hancox.

The ex-Birmingham City man stole the ball from the keeper and punished his error with a tidy finish into the virtually empty goal.

For all the chances that York had made during the 90 minutes, both goals essentially stemmed from Chorley’s defensive mistakes.

After the hour, Hancox shanked a shot wide as he sought a second goal to put the result beyond doubt.

Unfortunately a nervous final 20 minutes would await the York fans, although it would be wrong to perceive that their backline was completely bombarded until the finish.

Jameson was alert to save Blakeman’s cross-cum-shot as well as a back-post header from Hall.

The City keeper was not even tested in Hall’s next effort as he found Row Z despite being given a free shot in the box from a clever pull-back pass.

As the seconds whittled away late on, York reached stoppage time appearing well-placed to see the game out and without having conceded too many clear-cut chances.

Chorley did fashion one last glorious opportunity though. Adam Henley delivered a follow-up cross into the box and Sampson’s flicked header beat Jameson but, fortunately for the number one, trickled wide of the post.

In the dying seconds, the game was twice stopped as York fans attempted to enter the pitch and another Chorley flare was thrown onto the field.

By the full-time whistle, City supporters rushed onto the pitch and some alarming scenes at the end appeared to see flares thrown between the two sets of fanbases.

Whether the National League decide to take action on such matters remains to be seen, but for such an ending to mar what should have been a celebratory evening is a shame for all who care about York City.

York: Jameson 7, Dyson 8, Kouogun 8, Sanders 8, Barrow 7, Wright 7, McLaughlin (C) 8, Hancox 8, Kouhyar 8 (Willoughby 83’), John-Lewis 8 (Brown 90’), McKay 6 (Donaldson 6 63’).

Subs not used: Whitley, Woods.

Goals: John-Lewis (10’), Hancox (49’)

Yellow cards: Donaldson, Hancox, Dyson

York’s star man: Mitch Hancox. As always, he a tireless runner for York in midfield and his pressing was rewarded by the winning goal.

Chorley: Urwin, Henley, Leather (C), Baines, Whitehouse (Holmes 77’), Calveley, Sampson, Tomlinson, Blakeman (Halls 67’), Alli (Ustabasi 77’), Hall.

Subs not used:, Blyth, Shenton.

Goals: Hall (25’)

Referee: James Westgate

Attendance: 6,394

Match stats

Shots (on target): 13 (4) | 9 (5)

Corners: 1 | 5

Offsides: 2 | 2

Fouls committed: 13 | 8