York City threw away the chance of maximum points at ten-man Southport after a Jamal Fyfield mistake handed the hosts a late equaliser.

The home side had earlier seen right-back James Smith sent off in dubious circumstances for a challenge on Ashley Chambers.

Former Leicester striker Chambers went on to break the deadlock just past the hour much to the chagrin of the Southport crowd.

The Sandgrounders went home happy, however, when Vinny Mukendi earned his team an unlikely point on 81 minutes following Fyfield’s error.

Even then, City might have snatched victory with virtually the last kick of the match but substitute Michael Potts’ thumping 30-yard effort bounced back off a post.

On a greasy surface, both sides struggled for a first-half foothold in the game prior to Smith’s dismissal.

City were largely restricted to deflected efforts on home ’keeper Tony McMillan’s goal – the first of which saw a Paddy McLaughlin edge-of-the-box attempt bounce well wide.

At the other end, Simon Grand headed wide at the far post from a Shaun Whalley corner and a Jason Walker chip then nicked off Steve Akrigg before bouncing safely to McMillan.

Shortly afterwards, City’s top scorer was living dangerously when he caught Sandgrounders’ left-back Andy Owens off the ball in front of the home dugout.

Southport’s bench, players and supporters all screamed for the maximum punishment but referee Rob Merchant opted for a free-kick against Walker and a yellow card.

On 20 minutes, a tricky, skidding free-kick by Tony Gray was impressively gathered by Minstermen ’keeper Michael Ingham.

Matty Blair’s shot was also diverted wide of McMillan’s near post courtesy of an Owens block.

Just past the half-hour mark, Whalley curled waywardly wide from 20 yards out before Smith was given his marching orders on 34 minutes.

The Southport right-back appeared to win the ball cleanly with a sliding halfway line challenge on Chambers, who was looking to collect a Walker flick on.

But Merchant surprised everybody in the ground by brandishing a red card with smirking City supporters shouting “Off, off, off” for a succession of innocuous incidents thereafter.

The visitors finished the half strongly against their ten-man opponents with Scott Kerr testing McMillan from distance.

Kerr also released Chambers for a first-time 12-yard strike that was well parried by McMillan on the stroke of half-time.

After the restart, Smith saw a far-post downward header from Chambers’ corner saved comfortably and, after Gray called Ingham into action from an unfavourable angle, Walker drove over McMillan’s bar from 20 yards.

Chambers then fired high and wide from 20 yards but that only proved a rehearsal for the almost identical chance he opened the scoring with on 62 minutes.

Picking the ball up after Kerr’s purposeful midfield burst, Chambers’ curling right-footed effort looped over McMillan, who will have been disappointed to have been beaten on his line in the middle of the visitors’ goal.

Jason Walker lifted a great chance to double the lead over the bar before Fyfield survived loud penalty appeals on 78 minutes when Whalley tumbled in the box and, seconds later, Chris Lever clattered into Potts and was fortunate to escape with only a caution.

But the Minstermen were undone on 81 minutes when Fyfield’s careless pass across the back line was intercepted by Karl Ledsham.

He then squared for home sub Mukendi, whose low 12-yard shot bounced in off Ingham’s right-hand upright.

Match facts

Southport 1 (Mukendi 81), York City 1 (Chambers 62)

York City: Michael Ingham 7, Jon Challinor 7, Chris Smith 7, Jamal Fyfield 7, James Meredith 7, Andre Boucaud 6, Scott Kerr 8, Patrick McLaughlin 6, Ashley Chambers 7, Jason Walker 6, Matty Blair 6.

Subs: Michael Potts (for Boucaud, 77).

Not used: Daniel Parslow, David McGurk, Jamie Reed, Adriano Moké.

Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.

City’s star man: Kerr – drove his team forward throughout the game in a real display of leadership.

Southport: Tony McMillan, James Smith, Steve Akrigg, Simon Grand, Andy Owens, Shaun Whalley, Godfrey Poku, Alan Moogan, Karl Ledsham, Tony Gray (Vinny Mukendi, 70), Dan Walker (Chris Lever, 46).

Subs (not used): Matt Nemes, Jon Brown, Adam Carden.

Booked: Ledsham 15, Walker 18, Lever 79, Moogan 86.

Sent off: J Smith 34.

Shots on target: Southport 4, City 5.

Shots off target: Southport 2, City 9.

Corners: Southport 2, City 9.

Fouls conceded: Southport 16, City 10.

Offsides: Southport 1, City 2.

Referee: Rob Merchant (Staffordshire).

Attendance: 1,107 (230 York fans).