YORK City were denied what would have been a crucial three points, as FC Halifax Town netted a 93rd minute equaliser at the Shay in a 1-1 draw.

Dipo Akinyemi had netted a second-half strike for his third goal in as many games, volleying from close-range to cap off an excellent cross from Alex Hunt.

But disaster struck in stoppage time for City, with a sliced clearance from Quevin Castro forcing George Sykes-Kenworthy into a save, before Rob Harker dramatically forced the ball over the line.

The result sees York sit in 17th position of the Vanarama National League on 50 points, four clear of Kidderminster Harriers in the relegation zone with three matches left to play.  

The Yorkshire derby was initially supposed to take place on Easter Monday, but Halifax’s ongoing issues with the condition of their pitch saw the match postponed.

Despite being re-arranged for just one day later, City supporters turned out in numbers, with 1006 attending the Shay on a Tuesday night.

Hinshelwood was forced into two changes for City’s trip to the Shay, with Thierry Latty-Fairweather absent from the squad after suffering a upper back injury in Good Friday’s 2-1 victory over Chesterfield.

Replacing Latty-Fairweather in the starting eleven was Sam Fishburn, making his first York start and leading the line for the Minstermen.

Rory Watson was originally named in the starting eleven, but an injury in the warm-up saw George Sykes-Kenworthy come in for his first start since the 6-1 defeat to Altrincham in mid-March.

Replacing Sykes-Kenworthy on the bench was Zanda Siziba, who was initially not named in the 16-man squad.

Dan Batty slotted in at right-back, with Billy Chadwick moving into central midfield as part of a 4-3-3 set-up. Halifax is also a known place to the two, having both previously played for Town in past loan spells.

Halifax made two changes, with Chris Millington bringing Andrew Oluwabori and Luke Summerfield into the starting eleven.

Kane Thompson-Sommers and Aaron Cosgrave dropped out of the squad, with the Shaymen lining up in a 4-2-3-1.

The build-up of the match had been solely focused on whether it would go ahead, with the status of Halifax’s pitch being an ongoing concern throughout the National League.

With the best efforts of the groundsmen, it was match on for Hinshelwood’s side.

Their pre-match preparations were interrupted by the knock to Watson, but it didn’t appear to make much of a difference in a low quality first-half.

Oluwabori was the man to watch for Halifax, and nearly carved open an early chance with a deep cross into Rob Harker, but his header trickled narrowly wide of Sykes-Kenworthy’s goal.

Batty responded when driving forward from defence, but his tame effort was comfortably held by Sam Johnson in the hosts’ goal.

Fishburn and Alex Hunt both had efforts bravely blocked by the Shaymen, before Oluwabori again looked to break the deadlock, with his strike bobbling wide of the target again.

City’s best chance of the half came through talisman Dipo Akinyemi, who cut inside of Summerfield before hammering a low strike towards the far corner, only to see his effort drift wide of the goal.

Approaching half-time, it looked as if neither side would be able to break one another down before the break, but Halifax will have been frustrated to see a golden opportunity fall to Harker again at the back post, only for the strike to poke an effort wide.

Callum Howe came close to winning a header from Hunt’s corner, but was denied by Johnson, before referee Michael Crusham brought an end to a stale first-half.

The second forty-five brought more success for the Minstermen, with Hunt initially curling a strike deep into the away fans from the edge of the area.

Akinyemi soon saw a strike deflected away from goal by a Halifax defender, before Summerfield’s audacious corner kick rattled the City crossbar, with the referee going on to award York a free-kick.

City continued to push for an opener with Kouhyar and Akinyemi combining, but the latter could only scuff a low strike wide of Johnson’s goal.

Halifax opted to bring on Cooke, and the young winger almost had an immediate impact, beating both Batty and Armstrong inside the area, before his cross-shot was held by Sykes-Kenworthy.

Armstrong then slipped Kouhyar in behind, but the strike’s tame strong was held by Johnson, with Harker then slicing an effort wide from 25-yards out.

But with York enjoying the majority of possession, they finally broke the deadlock with a well-worked move.

Hunt’s initial cross from a free-kick was cleared by the Halifax defence, but persistency from the Grimsby Town loanee saw the midfielder win back possession, before delivering a teasing ball into the six-yard box.

Akinyemi was then positioned well to clinically turn the ball home, volleying past a wayward Johnson.

Halifax looked to respond but were denied a controversial penalty, with Fallowfield appearing to hack down a Shaymen striker in the area, with referee Crusham waving away the claims.

But with stoppage time announced, disaster struck for York.

A sliced clearance from Castro headed towards his own goal, with Sykes-Kenworthy managing to push the loose ball onto his own crossbar, with a lurking Harker gratefully forcing the ball over the line.

Heartbreak for York, who now turn their attention to Eastleigh in a return to the LNER Community Stadium on Saturday, April 6 (3pm).

FC HALIFAX TOWN: Johnson, Golden, Stott, Senior, Galvin, Summerfield (Thompson-Sommers, 69), Hunter, Wright (George, 75), Hoti, Oluwabori (Cooke, 64), Harker

Subs not used: Evans, Jenkins

Goals: Harker (90+3)

YORK CITY: Sykes-Kenworthy 6, Batty 7, Fallowfield 6, Howe 7, Amos 6, Kouhyar 7, Hunt 8, Armstrong 7 (McLaughlin, 85), Chadwick 6, Fishburn 6 (John-Lewis 6, 67), Akinyemi 8 (Castro, 85)

Subs not used: Smith, Siziba

Goals: Akinyemi (74)

York’s star man: Alex Hunt. A battling performance in midfield, with the loanee never running out of steam. An assist to add to that too.

Referee: Michael Crusham

Attendance: 2734 (1006)

Shots off (on target): 4 (1) | 3 (3)

Corners: 2 | 3

Offsides: 8 | 2

Fouls committed: 8 | 4