SLOPPY defending robbed York City manager Colin Walker of the chance to get one over on his former employers.

The Minstermen looked to have made notable further pre-season progress when Craig Farrell’s 85th minute thunderbolt handed them a late lead against Barnsley at KitKat Crescent.

But, following the theme of Friday’s friendly against Middlesbrough, City allowed their South Yorkshire opponents an equaliser in the last two minutes – forcing York to settle, once again, for a 2-2 draw.

Walker was philosophical afterwards, noting the development his side are making on their way to their August 9 Blue Square Premier opener at Crawley.

But it is a shame that a goal of such quality wasn’t the final word in an entertaining match – allowing Walker to revel in besting the side he, and fellow coaches Eric Winstanley and Neil Redfearn, served with such distinction.

Barnsley midfielder Brian Howard may have starred against the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea in last year’s thrilling FA Cup campaign, but Martyn Woolford made him look very silly when completely confusing him with a clever turn in the centre circle.

The City winger then released a slide-rule pass to Farrell, who smashed it first time from 25-yards past Kyle Letheren into the top right-hand corner.

Job done. Only not quite.

York had already got out of jail once when Josh Mimms, who replaced Michael Ingham in the 68th minute, spilled a Simon Heslop shot straight to Kayode Odejayi, who managed to clip the City ’keeper’s ankle rather than hit the net.

But, from the ensuing corner, there was panic in the Minstermen defence and, after the ball had careered off the top of the left-hand post and back into the box, Jonathan Macken was waiting to claim the simplest of goals.

It was a frantic end to the game, but those last five minutes mirrored much of the rest of the friendly.

City approached the first period with passing intent and could have been three up in the first five minutes.

Letheren was lucky a botched clearance bounced out of play and not into the net in the first 90 seconds, before an unmarked Onome Sodje headed a Woolford corner wide just moments later.

Niall Henderson fired wide, as did Woolford, and while Barnsley were neat and tidy in possession, it was City who were the more incisive.

Then, on 23 minutes, the visitors took the lead. Promising midfielder Jacob Butterfield’s crossfield pass found Mounir El Haimour in space and his centre wrong-footed both Ingham and Danny Parslow – allowing Macken to steal in at the far post to claim the first of his brace.

With his shooting boots on, Mark Greaves could have put the game out of sight on his own and Woolford was guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance when presented with a pass six yards out after some trickery by Sodje.

That said, Barnsley were still unlucky not to go in with a two-goal cushion after El Haimour bent a shot past Ingham from 20-yards, only to see it strike the left-hand post.

The Minstermen changed tack in the second-half – looking to hit long balls for Sodje and Farrell behind Darren Moore and it was a tactic that bore ever more fruit as the game progressed.

On 53 minutes, Farrell repeated Woolford’s trick of firing over from a seemingly simple scoring position but, with just under quarter of an hour remaining, he redeemed himself with the first of his two goals. Stephen Foster was first left flat on his backside before Farrell dinked the ball past the on-rushing Letheren and walked it into an empty net.

And Greaves had yet another chance to get on the scoresheet before Farrell’s wonder-strike became the catalyst for some late KitKat Crescent fireworks.

York City: Ingham (Mimms 68), Purkiss, Kelly, Parslow (McGurk 56), Sodje (Boyes 81), Greaves, Farrell, Woolford, Rusk (Shepherd 72), Henderson (Wilkinson 60), McWilliams (Robinson 74).

Barnsley: Kyle Letheren, Bobby Hassell, Rob Kozluk, Darren Moore (Robert Atkinson 75), Stephen Foster, Brian Howard, Mounir El Haimour, Diego Leon (Simon Heslop 78), Jacob Butterfield (Kayode Odejayi 46), Jonathan Macken, Jon Smith. Subs not used: Andy Johnson, Sam Togwell, Peter Hunt.

Referee: Mark Haywood (Wakefield).

Attendance: 1,145 (367 from Barnsley).