York City 1 Newport County 1
Walker (59); Jarvis (4)
Jason Walker marked his return to action by rescuing York City from a third straight home defeat with a timely 59th minute equaliser against FA Trophy final opponents Newport County at Bootham Crescent.
Manager Gary Mills reacted to a dismal first-half performance with a double-change at the break and substitute Walker soon struck the woodwork before then converting a cross from fellow replacement Ashley Chambers.
The Minstermen had earlier conceded yet another rapid goal in front of their own followers when Nathaniel Jarvis headed the visitors into a shock fourth-minute lead.
The result was sufficient for the hosts to slip down a place to fifth in the table and be replaced by a rampant Kidderminster Harriers, who came from behind to thrash relegated Kettering Town 6-1 at Aggborough Stadium. Elsewhere, play-off rivals Southport and Luton Town were both held to away draws.
York boss Mills was able to name an unchanged side from their Easter Monday victory at Alfreton Town while the visitors were again without skipper Gary Warren.
And it was Newport making the busier start and they were rewarded as early as four minutes when Sam Foley’s free-kick was headed in by Jarvis – who also opened scoring in the recent meeting between the clubs just under a fortnight ago.
Adriano Moké had a cross headed behind in reply and Matty Blair saw a shot fumbled by on loan Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Karl Darlow. But Jamie Reed was ruled offside.
There was then an unfortunate collision between York pair Chris Smith and Michael Ingham before Blair cleared well from the corner. Reed was soon dubiously ruled offside while Moké’s 22-yard shot was held by Darlow falling to his left.
Newport striker Jake Read headed Lee Baker’s cross wide at the opposite end but their opponents were having significant levels of the possession and Danny Pilkington curled in an inviting assist with no takers before almost getting onto James Meredith’s cross in as Darlow snatched at his near post.
York were still struggling with their delivery and very rarely getting past the first defender and received a further blow when Moké suffered a hamstring injury on 36 minutes and was replaced by Chambers.
But Pilkington did have a later cross tipped over by Darlow, who also denied top scorer Blair’s dipping 25-yard effort just before the break.
The Minstermen made further changes at the interval with Walker and Jon Challinor replacing Reed and Pilkington as they attacked towards their favoured David Longhurst Stand.
Walker was searching for his first goal in open play since October and went desperately close after only ten minutes of his return when despatching a 25-yard effort against the angle of post and crossbar.
Fellow substitute Chambers was also looking lively pushed up alongside Walker and soon allowed Lanre Oyebanjo to scuff wide before then pulling the ball back for Walker to slot home a deserved equaliser and his seventeenth goal of the campaign.
It now appeared simply a case of whether York could force a vital winner and Oyebanjo’s free-kick was deflected through to a grateful Darlow while Chambers had a shot blocked before Walker again tried his luck from distance.
Skipper Smith then headed wide from a cross by Oyebanjo, who also dragged a late effort across goal after Read struck powerfully over in reply.
There was still sufficient time remaining for Patrick McLaughlin to flash another attempt wide while Smith headed a Chambers cross behind in added time as the hosts once again fell short in front of their own supporters.
York City: Ingham, Oyebanjo, Smith, Doig, Meredith, Parslow, Moké (Chambers 36), McLaughlin, Blair, Reed (Walker 46), Pilkington (Challinor 46)
subs (unused): Gibson, Tonne
Goals: Walker (59)
Newport County: Darlow, Pipe, Yakubu, Hughes, Minshull, Baker (Hatswell 83), Jarvis (Buchanan 80), Knights (Rodgers 75), Porter, Foley, Read
subs (unused): Thompson, Harris
Goals: Jarvis (4)
Ref: R. Clark
Attendance: 2,824 (119 Newport)
Read more: VitalFootball.co.uk