United fans didn't have long to wait to find out who would be stepping up where Martin Carruthers and Andy Dawson have failed - 840 seconds into today's game we were awarded our third spot-kick in four league games.
The match only got the go-ahead after two pitch inspections, and the home side were wishing the game had been postponed when Wayne Graves was tripped in the area by Tom Cowan.
A minute earlier United had appealed for a penalty when Steve Torpey appeared to be pulled down when one on one with goalkeeper Alan Fettis.
The home side almost replied instantly when Jonathan Parkin and Peter Duffield combined to send Lee Nogan free but, as he shaped to shoot, Mark Jackson made a superb and vital tackle.
Torpey had a great chance to increase the lead and score his second when he was clean through on goal after Chris Smith's weak back pass, but keeper Alan Fettis diverted his shot to safety.
York hit back and drew level on 26 minutes when defender Darren Edmondson, who hadn't scored in four years before his goal against the mudrats at the weekend, scored his second goal in consecutive games.
He latched on to a pass from Cowan which Andy Dawson failed to deal with, cut inside the left-back and hit home a left-footed shot from 15 yards.
But York were level for only ten minutes, when Martin Carruthers - who spent a brief spell on loan with the Minstermen from Peterbrough United -continued his remarkable knack of scoring against former clubs..
The ball was worked through Graves and Sparrow before being played out to Martin Carruthers out on the right flank.
He cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable left-footed shot from 25 yards that fizzed past Fettis into the top corner for the goal of his season.
The home side were clearly demoralised after this, and within five minutes of the re-start we were into a commanding 3-1 lead courtesy of Wayne Graves' crisp shot from 15 yards following Torpey's clever nod down.
Andy Dawson didn't return after the half-time break due to an ankle injury which means he is a serious doubt for Saturday's visit of Leeds United in the cup.
Lee Featherstone dropped to left-back, with Scott Brough coming off the bench to fill a left wing role.
Featherstone though is clearly not a defender, and his lack of defensive instincts cost him dear on the hour mark when he found himself a yard behind City centre-forward Lee Nogan.
The card-happy referee judged that he deliberately hauled down Nogan with him running onto goal, and was shown a red card.
Faced with losing a left-back for the second time in the game Laws brought Jamie McCombe off the banch, with goal hero Martin Carruthers being sacrificed to protect the lead.
City pushed United back but lacked a cutting edge in front of goal.
First, Edmondson had two shots blocked from Graham Potter corners before three further efforts in a goalmouth scramble were all cleared from near the goal-line.
Lee Bullock scooped a further effort over the bar, and then Duffield turned and shot from 25 yards only to see his effort strike the bar.
It clearly was not going to be City's day when Potter shot straight at the keeper from Parkin's cross in the last minute.