Winger Cameron Pitman’s length of the field try three minutes from time ensured Barrow travelled back to Cumbria with the points after Chris Hankinson kicked the touchline conversion.
But this game will live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons as Barrow were penalised on 12 occasions during the first-half with Craig Briscoe and Andy Litherland seeing yellow cards within two minutes of each other and substitute Andy Bate sent off for “making contact with the head”.
To add to the emotion Bate then entered into the crowd to remonstrate with the home supporters until escorted away from a clearly volatile situation.
The undercurrent of niggle and aggravation was apparent in many tackles, with Barrow earning a team warning.
York had opened the scoring after Micky Learmonth crashed through the defensive line then worked wide for Adam Dent to score. Within three minutes Barrow second-rower Adam Nicholson delayed his pass for Nathan Mossop to crash over the line.
York quickly regained the initiative as Pat Smith’s bullet-pass saw Brad Nicholson rampage through the defence with the ball again worked wide for Ed Smith to touch down although Josh Ward reduced the deficit with a penalty goal.
Jordan Howden scored from a sharp Greg Minikin pass within two minutes of the break before Pitman reduced the deficit to only four points and set-up the finale.
York: Howden, A. Dent, Minikin, Moreland, B. Dent, Presley, P Smith, Applegarth, Brining, Learmonth, E Smith, Tonks, Aldous. Substitutes: Carter, Mallinder, Nicholson, Blagbrough
Barrow: Fleming, Pitman, Hankinson, Litherland, Hambley, Marwood, Ward, Bullock, Mossop, Harrison, Nicholson, Briscoe, Duerdan. Substitutes: Dolan, Dawson, Toal, Bate
Referee: D Merrick (RFL).