PERHAPS appropriately given the time of year, Connor Smith breathed new life into his York City career by scoring a point-winning goal against Chorley.

Smith’s attempts to resurrect himself as a professional footballer with the Minstermen following a difficult final season at former club Hartlepool have not run according to plan in 2017/18.

First team opportunities have been few and far between and the 21-year-old winger even spent a month on loan at Whitby Town in the seventh tier during autumn.

But, after being left out of the squad completely during Tuesday night’s 3-2 midweek victory over Southport, Smith was summoned off the bench for the first of two Easter bank-holiday weekend fixtures to try and help salvage something from a game in which the hosts trailed 1-0 to National League North’s meanest away defence.

He went on to cancel out Alex Newby’s spectacular opening goal for the visitors, which represented an important landmark for a player who had not netted in his previous 15 games for City or during 19 outings at Hartlepool.

Smith was not the only substitute to catch the eye either, as the Minstermen’s squad continues to be stretched to the limit by injuries to Jon Parkin, Alex Kempster and Louis Almond, while Simon Heslop also served the second of his two-game ban.

Former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate Adriano Moke seized his early chance off the bench, as Alex Pattison added to the walking wounded list on 16 minutes.

Moke was at his best in a central-midfield position, protecting possession expertly, making timely interceptions and driving forward when appropriate.

Youth-team scholar Flynn McNaughton also helped liven up proceedings following his introduction midway through the second half.

Within seconds, McNaughton teed up Aidan Connolly for the hosts’ first shot since the interval.

Earlier, Chorley had managed just one goal attempt throughout the opening 45 minutes, but that proved sufficient for Matt Jansen’s men to take a lead into the break.

The Magpies forged ahead on ten minutes when Pattison, with his face to goal, received a ball out of defence from Dan Parslow but the on-loan Middlesbrough midfielder’s loose touch led to a strong challenge by Josh O’Keefe.

City players protested against the tackle, but Newby picked up the pieces, surged to the edge of the box and thundered an unstoppable effort in off Adam Bartlett’s crossbar.

In response, Josh Law curled over from a free kick and Raul Correia shot tamely straight at Chorley keeper Matt Urwin after being sent clear through the left channel by Connolly.

Urwin was then equal to a looping David Ferguson header and a curling Connolly free kick, before Correia spurned the best chance of the half on 39 minutes.

Having fed the ball out to Connolly, who went on to weave his way into the box before squaring to the on-loan Blackpool striker, Correia sidefooted wastefully over from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.

Before the teams changed ends, Law was again too high from a free kick and Sean Newton flashed an edge-of-the-box drive just wide after Correia’s lay-off.

After the restart, Newby fired over from 20 yards after running at Hamza Bencherif through the right channel.

City, meanwhile, had created nothing for 20 minutes until McNaughton prodded forward to Connolly, whose long-range effort drifted wide.

Following Urwin’s poor punch from a Law cross, skipper Newton should not have missed the target with a ten-yard half-volley, but Smith was more clinical when he was given a 71st-minute opportunity to equalise.

Ferguson did well to work an opening on the left and his low centre deflected off an away boot across the face of goal with a predatory Smith pouncing to sidefoot the ball in from four yards at the far post.

Chorley immediately threatened at the other end when Marcus Carver swept a firm and low ten-yard shot towards goal, which was well held by Bartlett after Hamza Bencherif and former Bootham Crescent favourite Jason Walker had contested an aerial ball.

Parslow also made a brilliant block to divert Delial Brewster’s shot behind for a corner as the Chorley sub bore down on Bartlett’s goal.

City ended the match strongest, though, with Connolly bending a 25-yard effort wide at the end of a move when several of his team-mates had passed up opportunities to get a shot away.

Urwin was not tested either by further efforts from Connolly and Smith, before the latter saw the afternoon’s final chance – a looping header in the third minute of stoppage time – land on the roof of the net.

The point was not the reward Martin Gray’s men had wanted before kick-off and victory for Salford City on Good Friday means the Minstermen are now mathematically incapable of catching the league leaders with six games still left to play.

But a share of the spoils did move the pre-season second favourites up to fourth in the table and extended their unbeaten 2018 record at Boothamn Crescent to an eighth game.

City ratings

Adam Bartlett 7

Jonny Burn 7

Dan Parslow 8

Hamza Bencherif 7

Josh Law 7

Alex Pattison

Sean Newton 6

Aidan Connolly 7

David Ferguson 6

James Gray 5

Raul Correia 5

Substitutes: Adriano Moke 7 (for Pattison, 16), Connor Smith 7 (for Gray, 60), Flynn McNaughton 7 (for Correia, 64).

Subs not used: Connor Brown, Luke Simpson.

Star man: Parslow - read the game excellently and geed team up in second half 

Chorley: Matt Urwin, Matt Challoner, Scott Leather, Andy Teague, Matty Hughes, Adam Blakeman, Alex Newby (Delial Brewster, 77), Josh O’Keefe, Jake Cottrell, Marcus Carver, Jason Walker (Josh Gregory, 87). Subs not used: Lee Molyneux, Luke Burgess, Josh Wilson.

Chorley star man: Teague – uncompromising presence in away defence

Referee: Paul Brown: 7/10 – rarely at fault throughout

Booked: Blakeman 25, Carver 80

Sent off: None

Attendance: 2,721 (263 from Chorley)

Shots on target: City 4, Chorley 2

Shots off target: City 10, Chorley 2

Corners: City 3, Chorley 3

Fouls conceded: City 5, Chorley 14

Offside: City 1, Chorley 2