“GIVE me gin and tonic” sang Oasis as Stevenage Borough and York City ran on to the pitch for yesterday’s Blue Square Premier clash at Broadhall Way.

And, 19 minutes later, Colin Walker must have felt like reaching for a stiff drink himself as his team trailed 2-0.

After a fightback full of spirit, however, the City boss was left toasting an improved performance on recent outings and a well-deserved point against a Stevenage side who had won their previous four fixtures.

Dropping Daniel McBreen to the bench, Walker opted for a 4-4-2 formation with Onome Sodje and Craig Farrell handed rare starts as out-and-out strikers.

The pair’s response was terrific. Both got their name on the scoresheet and played a significant part in all three goals.

Indeed, Sodje would have surely clinched maximum points had a pulled hamstring muscle not halted him in full flow as he bore down on Chris Day’s goal late on.

It will be a huge shame if Sodje’s injury keeps him sidelined in coming weeks as the 20-year-old striker’s pace and willingness caused all sorts of problems for the in-form hosts.

Farrell also gave a reminder of the forward talents that won him The Press Player of the Year award two seasons ago, when he was the perfect foil for a grateful Clayton Donaldson.

Together, the duo proved that City can be a potent attacking force, while a hard-working Simon Rusk and the cultured Simon Russell also shone in midfield for City.

So often over-reliant on set-pieces for attacking inspiration away from home this season, City scored three quality goals from open play and, had the team defended as well as they are capable of doing, then the visitors would have been travelling back up the A1 with maximum points.

That possibility looked remote, however, following a sloppy start to the game.

City fell behind in calamitous circumstances only three minutes in, when Scott Laird raided down the left wing before pulling the ball back to Anthony Thomas on the penalty spot.

Thomas’ shot then deflected off Danny Parslow and, as the ball spun goalwards, left-back Mark Robinson attempted a clearance that rocketed into the roof of the net.

Shortly afterwards, Lawrie Wilson drove high and wide after Steve Morison picked out his marauding run down the right and the home side forged further ahead when City failed to clear their lines and John Martin’s through ball dissected defenders Robinson and Parslow far too easily.

Morison stole in and beat Michael Ingham with a low drive inside the Northern Ireland international’s near post, but few would have predicted what happened next.

City pulled a goal back on 25 minutes with their first meaningful attack when Farrell threaded a perfect through ball to Sodje, who had timed his run to perfection down the right channel.

The former Ebbsfleet forward then drilled an angled shot past home goalkeeper Day from 12 yards.

Moments later, Day raced off his line to prevent Russell collecting a long Ben Purkiss pass and Holmes volleyed over from the edge of the box before levelling the scores in first-half stoppage time at the end of a flowing City move.

Russell picked out another run down the right flank by Sodje and he, in turn, cut the ball back for Farrell who, in a manner reminiscent of Teddy Sheringham and Euro 96, simply and selflessly guided the ball into Holmes’ path and the on-loan Rotherham midfielder beat Day from six yards.

Within three minutes of the restart, Walker’s men had turned the game completely on its head when Russell sent Sodje sprinting away again – once again down the right wing.

The Nigerian forward then rolled the ball square to Farrell, who sidefooted past an exposed Day from eight yards.

Another lapse in concentration at the back, however, meant the Minstermen’s lead was shortlived.

A drifting David McGurk lost Morison in the six-yard box and, despite Ingham’s best efforts, the Stevenage striker headed in his eighth goal of the season from Peter Vincenti’s inswinging right-wing cross.

At the other end, Sodje continued to be a threat, but fired wide from 20 yards when he might have passed to an overlapping Russell.

The City striker also forced Michael Bostwick into a goal-saving block after wriggling past Mark Albrighton.

His hamstring then denied him a gilt-edged chance to become his side’s deserved matchwinner, stopping him in his tracks as he charged clear on goal after exchanging passes with substitute Richard Brodie.

For Stevenage, Morison forced Ingham into a save from a 25-yard curling free-kick and, on 89 minutes, fed a clever reverse pass through to Mitchell Cole from a similar set-piece situation, but his shot lacked the power to beat City’s ’keeper.

Holmes also saw a shot deflected wide in stoppage time as injury-hindered City, despite finishing the game with Rusk at right back, Greaves in defence and Farrell as a central midfielder, still searched for victory.

Stevenage 3 (Robinson og 3; Morison 19, 57), York City 3 (Sodje 25; Holmes 45; Farrell 49)

City: Michael Ingham 6, Ben Purkiss 6, Danny Parslow 6, David McGurk 6, Mark Robinson 6, Simon Rusk 8, Mark Greaves 7, Peter Holmes 7, Simon Russell 8, Craig Farrell 8, Onome Sodje 9.

Substitutions: Ben Wilkinson (for Russell, 74) Richard Brodie (for Purkiss, 77) Daniel McBreen (for Sodje, 81)

Subs not used: Mimms, McWilliams.

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: Sodje – his willing runs behind the Stevenage defence were the key to all three City goals and might have led to a fourth if not for his hamstring injury.

Stevenage: Chris Day, Mark Albrighton (Eddie Anaclet, 72), Michael Bostwick, Ronnie Henry, Scott Laird, Laurie Wilson, Peter Vincenti, Mitchell Cole, Steve Morison, Anthony Thomas (Calum Willock, 72).

Subs not used: Ashley Bayes, Ed Upson, Liam McDevitt.

Yellow cards: None.

Shots on target: Stevenage 7 York 5.

Shots off target: Stevenage 4 York 4 .

Corners: Stevenage 4 York 3.

Fouls conceded: Stevenage 8 York 14.

Offsides: Stevenage 2 York 2.

Referee: Steve Creighton. Rating: gave a level-headed display and upset few people.

Attendance: 1917.

Move of the match: City’s second goal was teamwork at its best.

Pass of the match: Farrell’s unselfish sideways nudge for Holmes during the above move.

Run of the match: Any one of Sodje’s sprints behind a struggling Stevenage defence.

City player watch: Striker Craig Farrell

Goal attempts on target: 1

Goal attempts off target: 0

Blocked goal attempts: 0

Passes to own player: 17

Passes to opposition: 1

Crosses to own player: 0

Crosses to opposition: 1

Pass completion rate: 89.5 per cent

Dribbles ball retained: 0

Dribbles ball lost: 4

Dribble completion rate: 0 per cent

Headers: 3

Tackles: 3

Clearances, blocks and interceptions: 1

Fouls won: 0

Fouls conceded: 0

Offsides: 0

Yellow cards: 0

Final summary: Craig Farrell made an impressive return to York City’s frontline, scoring one goal and claiming two assists. The former Exeter forward also displayed excellent distribution, hitting only one stray pass all afternoon. His tally of three headers was more an illustration of City’s commitment to play attractive passing football rather than any reflection of his aerial ability.