Djoumin Sangare’s stoppage-time header ensured York City exorcised the ghost of Wembley just four weeks before Halloween.

Tackling Stevenage for the first time since May’s fearful FA Trophy final defeat, Martin Foyle’s men illustrated the progress that has been made at Bootham Crescent over the past five months.

Unlike under the famous arch, Saturday’s match was an even contest fought between two sides with matching levels of self-belief and desire.

Having seen City snatch a late point for the second time in three matches, Foyle hailed his side’s Yorkshire grit even if a Frenchman claimed the vital goal in a team also containing a couple of Welshmen, two Geordies, an Irishman and an Aussie.

There was certainly an air of inevitability about Sangare’s equaliser that was missing when Stevenage led by the same slender margin going into injury-time in North London.

At Wembley, the Hertfordshire side went on to grab a second goal and the final scoreline probably still flattered City.

On Saturday, though, Graham Westley’s men were clinging on for victory in the latter stages, withdrawing dangermen Andy Drury and Mitchell Cole and substituting former City striker Chris Beardsley to throw on a third centre-back in Mark Albrighton.

With Michael Gash limping out of the action midway through the first half and Alex Lawless on the bench until the final quarter-of-an-hour, allied to the blustery conditions, the home side had struggled to impose their fast-paced, passing game on a visiting team who adopted a physical approach throughout.

Spoiling tactics by Stevenage, almost endorsed by an over-lenient refereeing display from Michael Naylor, also had a disruptive influence on the game.

Left-back Scott Laird hacked down lively City winger Adam Smith twice in the first three minutes and was only eventually cautioned after committing his fourth foul of the afternoon in the second half.

The same player must have also feigned five different injuries during a niggly 90 minutes while Drury, Cole and Beardsley all trudged off the pitch at snail’s pace following their substitutions.

On another afternoon, Beardsley and fellow striker Charlie Griffin might have been sent off rather than booked for aerial clashes that left Sangare and Neil Barrett in crumpled heaps.

Having been replaced, Beardsley might also count himself fortunate not to be ordered to the stand after storming into the home technical area to remonstrate with City’s substitutes and coaching staff following a strong Richard Brodie challenge late on.

That had been the punishment for coach Dino Maamria after he committed the same offence following Gash’s 12th-minute lunge at Michael Brough.

Following Gash’s withdrawal, Brodie and Michael Rankine struggled to make inroads against an uncompromising Borough backline led by captain Mark Roberts.

But Sangare, the epitome of City’s current never-say-die attitude, ensured the Minstermen extended their unbeaten run to a ninth match.

The former Salisbury defender had earlier headed the game’s first chance of the match wide from a Smith cross.

At the other end, Drury, floating to good effect behind Beardsley and Griffin in a roving role, curled a 25-yard effort narrowly wide of Michael Ingham’s right-hand post.

It was City skipper Daniel Parslow, though, who headed Stevenage in front on 32 minutes.

The former Welsh Under-21 international rose highest to meet a Drury corner that hung in the wind at the far post and, then, in front of a shocked David Longhurst Stand, planted a firm downward header into his own goal.

His intention had, no doubt, been to divert Drury’s cross behind for another flag-kick.

Griffin and Drury were then denied goals by marginal offside decisions before the interval.

Just 20 seconds into the second half, Sangare’s miskicked attempt at a clearance gave Drury a clear sight of Ingham’s goal but a 15-yard effort was palmed around his post by the City ’keeper.

A subdued Brodie fired narrowly wide from 25 yards, though, on the hour and City won their first corner on 78 minutes when Lawless’ long-range drive was blocked by Joel Byrom.

An off-target Smith also tried his luck from distance after a strong diagonal run inside from the right flank before Sangare saved the day at the other end of the pitch in the 86th minute.

The 25-year-old defender was initially, partially culpable for allowing Stevenage substitute Yemi Odubade to wriggle in between himself and Ben Purkiss to bear down on Ingham’s goal.

But, should Sangare make a mistake, he normally looks to rectify it as soon as possible and he displayed great determination and timing to execute a perfectly-measured recovery tackle as Odubade prepared to shoot.

Parslow dragged an edge-of-the-box shot wide moments later before Stevenage ’keeper Chris Day was forced into his second save of the afternoon when he pushed a sliced Smith cross over the bar.

From the resulting corner, Sangare stooped to meet Barrett’s left-wing delivery to the near post and head in from six yards.

For sheer persistence, City were worth a point and Sangare’s cult status at Bootham Crescent continues to grow.

Match facts

York City 1 (Sangare 90), Stevenage 1 (Parslow 34 og)

York City: Michael Ingham 7, Ben Purkiss 7, Djoumin Sangare 8, Daniel Parslow 6, James Meredith 7, Adam Smith 7, Levi Mackin 6, Neil Barrett 7, Andy Ferrell 6, Michael Gash 6, Richard Brodie 6.

Substitutions: Michael Rankine (for Gash, 24) 6, Alex Lawless (for Mackin, 76), Chris Carruthers (for Ferrell, 76).

Subs not used: Pacquette, McGurk.

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: Sangare – compensated for the odd mistake with magical moments, including his vital goal.

Stevenage: Chris Day, Michael Brough, Mark Roberts, Michael Bostwick, Scott Laird, Mitchell Cole (Yemi Odubade, 75), Darren Murphy, Joel Byrom, Andy Drury (Eddie Odhiambo, 72), Chris Beardsley (Mark Albrighton, 83), Charlie Griffin.

Subs not used: Ashley Bayes, Peter Vincenti.

Yellow cards: Beardsley 30, Griffin 40, Mackin 56, Laird 57, Brodie 90, Bostwick 90.

Shots on target: York 3, Stevenage 3.

Shots off target: York 7, Stevenage 1.

Corners: York 3, Stevenage 4.

Fouls conceded: York 13, Stevenage 18.

Offsides: York 0, Stevenage 3.

Referee: Michael Naylor (South Yorks). Rating: lost control and respect very early in the game.

Attendance: 2,644 (137 away fans).

Moment of the match: When Sangare slid on his backside to prevent the ball going out as Stevenage attacked down the right. He then jumped to his feet, pushed the ball past Cole and won his side a free-kick. Unconventional, but very entertaining.

Head to head Neil Barrett v Joel Byrom

City were often outnumbered in the middle of the park where a roving Andy Drury would join Byrom and Darren Murphy, who acted as a buffer in front of their back four.

Barrett, therefore, got through a lot of work while Byrom largely checked his attempts to provide some attacking thrust for City.

The former Ebbsfleet midfielder did show clever movement in the visitors’ penalty box, however, on a couple of occasions and sent in the well-delivered corner for Djoumin Sangare’s equaliser.