Town boss Gary Brabin lost his first game in charge and was sent to the stands in a fiery encounter at Bootham Crescent.
York, chasing a Play-Off place, almost took the lead inside two minutes but Mark Tyler produced a stunning reaction save to keep out Jamie Reed's close range header following Ashley Chambers' cross.
The Hatters goalkeeper then saved his side from falling behind on 10 minutes - this time beating away Jonathan Smith's shot from 10 yards.
Under pressure in the early stages the Town almost took the lead against the run of play when Adam Newton's pass found Jason Walker through on goal but the striker could only shoot wide.
As the Hatters got on top it was the turn of home goalkeeper Michael Ingham to produce the theatrics to prevent Amari Morgan-Smith's curling shot from putting the visitors ahead.
The first half ended in controversy as the Hatters manager was sent to the stands after exchanging words with York assistant Darron Gee after Scott Kerr's nasty tackle on Keith Keane.
After eight minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half the Hatters again found themselves under the cosh in the opening moments of the second period with Neil Barrett poking a shot wide from 15 yards after being played in by Smith.
Back came the Town, however, and substitute Claude Gnakpa - on for the injured Freddie Murray - headed over when well-placed six yards from goal.
More end-to-end football ensued as both sides went for the jugular and the Hatters found themselves a goal down on 65 minutes when Smith threaded a pass through to Reed who finished well past Tyler.
York's joy was tarnished a minute after they'd taken the lead when they were reduced to 10 men when Kerr was sent-off for a second booking to give the Town the last 25 minutes with a man advantage.
Try as they might the Hatters could not find an equaliser as time ticked down with Robbie Willmott and Gnakpa both going close in the closing stages but York held on to secure all three points.
Full report to follow, for minute-by-minute analysis see below.
York City 1 (Reed 65)
Luton Town 0
FULL-TIME And that's it, it's all over. Stay tuned for reaction, photographs, anaylsis and much more between now and tomorrow morning. Keep it lutontown.co.uk.
90 mins + 4 - Almost time...
90 mins + 1 - Almost a chance for the Town as Howells and Willmott combine. But Willmott goes down in the box looking for a pen and is booked by the ref. That's the ninth booking of the night.
90 mins - And we've got another four of them to play now...
90 mins - We're into the final minute.
88 mins - And then almost a chance for 1-1 as terrific close control and strength from&nbsp;Gnakpa sees him retain the ball, run forward and shoot from 20 yards with a shot that goes just over.
88 mins - Just two minutes left now...
85 mins - The ref delves into his pocket once more and shows Carruthers a yellow card for a foul on Gnakpa down the right. From the resultant set piece Willmott again blasts it into the danger zone but Ingham gratefully hangs onto the ball at his near post.
83 mins - Seven left plus stoppage time for the Hatters to find a goal. They've just about been on top since York were reduced to 10. They'll get one more good chance before time, I reckon.
80 mins - And there almost is one. Howells is fouled down the left and Willmott blasts a devilish free-kick into the box that York half-clear to Howells who sees a shot&nbsp;blocked.
79 mins - Last 11 minutes and it's all hands to the pump for the hosts as the Town press for an equaliser. Can they find one?
78 mins Morgan-Smith has taken a knock and he's substituted and on comes Dan Walker for the last 10 or so.
75 mins - 15 minutes left now for the Town to make their numerical advantage count.
72 mins Second change for the Hatters as Willmott replaces Barnes-Homer. There's a final change for York too as Constantine is replaced by Levi Mackin. That's a midfielder for a striker.
71 mins - The attendance here at Bootham Crescent is 2,955 including 202 shouting for the Hatters.
70 mins - 20 minutes left and the Town can salvage a point here. Robbie Willmott looks as though he's ready to come on.
66 mins - It was only going to be a matter of time&nbsp;before referee Smith brandished a red card and he has no option to as Scott Kerr catches Morgan-Smith as he looked to run through. A second yellow is followed by a red and it's 11 v 10 for the last 25.
65 mins &nbsp;GOAL - YORK 1-0 Town - Gary Brabin won't want to see this is as the Hatters find themselves behind. The Town are caught square and Jonathan Smith plays in JAMIE REED through on goal and he guides a nice finish beyond Tyler.
62 mins - Second change of the night for the hosts as Peter Till replaces Barrett.
60 mins - On the hour a half-chance for the Hatters as Gnakpa springs well to head on Tyler's long kick into the path of Walker but his cross eludes everyone in the box including Barnes-Homer who was well placed.
57 mins - Back come the Town and it's chance-a-minute stuff as Morgan-Smith runs at the home defence before letting a right-foot shot from 20 yards fizz wide.
56 mins&nbsp;- Another off-target effort from the hosts. Constantine plays Chambers in down the left. He cuts inside on the edge of the penalty area but his shot is disappointing if you're a home fan as he rises way over Tyler's crossbar.
54 mins - Penalty shouts for the home side as Pilkington charges down a Chambers shot but the ref's not interested. No pen.
53 mins - Claude's on a mission now as he runs at the York defence down the centre of the pitch. His eyes open and he goes for goal 25 yards out by Ingham is equal to it.
53 mins - Real chance for the Town. Gnakpa wins a free-kick down the right which Keane whips in. The Frenchman is the first to meet it, rising from six yards but his header goes over.&nbsp;
51 mins - Almost another sight of goal for the hosts as Barrett pokes a shot wide from 15 yards after being found by a good ball by Jonathan Smith. Dan Gleeson applying the pressure to put the midfielder off.
48 mins - Half a sniff for the Minstermen as Keane upends Chambers. Carruthers curls in the free-kick that Tyler punches clear and Kerr thunders the ball away over the crossbar. The Town then break but Morgan-Smith, on the edge of the area, can't find Walker.
47 mins - By the way that change with Murray off and Gnakpa on has seen Howells drop to left-back and Gnakpa is on the right of a 442 with Walker and MBH up top.
46 mins Annnnnnnd we're off for the second half as the Town - or rather MBH and Jason Walker - kick-off this final 45 minutes. No changes for either side at the interval.
HALF-TIME Deep breath...it's 15 minutes of non-football action. I'm sure if you read below you get the picture but...if you're just joining us the Hatters no longer have Gary Brabin on the touchline, the referee has booked six players and the Town are level at the break thanks to three vital stops from Mark Tyler. It's all go. Join us in 15 minutes won't you?
45 mins + 8 - Another man in the book, that's six to get one&nbsp;as Jonathan Smith is carded.
45 mins + 6 - Drama continues, do we want the half to end? Probably. First attempt in about 25 minutes and it's Tyler to rescue again as he clambers onto a long range low curler from Chambers and gathers the rebound with Reed sniffing for the rebound.
45 mins + 5 &nbsp;Fred's on a stretcher as he leaves the field and on comes Claude.
45 mins + 4 - Looks as though there's going to be&nbsp;a change at the end of this half for the Town with Gnakpa looked ready to join the fray for Murray.
45 mins + 3 - Alan Neilson and Dmitri Kharine doing the instructions from the Hatters bench at the minute.
45 mins - Seven minutes added at the end of the first half as another man goes in the book - a York player this time - Barratt for a foul on Howells.
43 mins - Brabs had words with Darren Gee, the York assistant and from there on in it spiralled out of control. Bizarrely, as the Police head down the tunnel with the boss, Pilks tries to follow in attempt to calm him down yet his booked by the referee.
42 mins - Brabs has been sent to the stand after a Kerr challenge on Keane earned the York man a yellow.
40 mins - Home fans have the hump as the referee signals for a goal-kick but the lineman says Town corner. It's a short one worked by AMS and Howells but Howells overcooks it and York clear.
39 mins - Six minutes to the break and in truth not a lot to report. However the night's sky is an impressive back drop - it's a mix of blues and purples. Very nice if I don't say so myself.
36 mins - Half a sight of goal for Walker as Keane bends in a cross from the right but the striker's shot is a yard from finding the target and the ball drops wide.
34 mins - Brabs is in the ref's bad books as he remonstrates with the official. Not sure what about precisely but the man in black calms him down anyway.
33 mins - More York pressure but nothing doing as Scott Kerr clips a curling dangerous ball into the mix but it eludes Constantine at the back stick and the Hatters can regroup.
31 mins - Super defending from Town skipper Pilkington keeps York at bay again. Jonathan Smith nods the ball into the path of Chambers but before bares down on goal Pilks sticks out a crucial leg to clear the danger.
30 mins - Half an hour gone here and it's a tale of three saves so far. Tyler leading Ingham 2-1 in the saves stakes. It's been a good game so far. York marginally on top.
26 mins - Chance for the Hatters and this time it's the turn of home stopper Ingham to keep his side on level terms by atoning for his sliced clearance that goes straight to Morgan-Smith. He gets the better of James Meredith to curl a shot goalwards Ingham claws away, diving to his left. Good effort, good save.
23 mins - Underway again and after nimble work from the impressive Chambers the Town break as Walker and Barnes-Homer combine but the striker's pass looking for Walker is cut out.
21 mins -&nbsp;Yep, Chris Carruthers is on in his place. MBH nursing his head injury with a bag of ice. He's okay though.
19 mins - It looks nasty for Parslow, he's still down and looks as though he'll be replaced.
18 mins&nbsp;- Stoppage in play here as Daniel Parslow and Matthew Barnes-Homer receive treatment after a clash of heads.
16 mins - Half a sniff for the Hatters on the break as Barnes-Homer plays Morgan-Smith down the right. His cross finds Newton in the box but the midfielder can't get a foothold on the ball and York can clear.
14 mins - Second man in the book is a Town man as Graham is cautioned for handball offence down the left. Chambers whips in a dangerous free-kick right into the six-yard box that Pilkington clears well.
12 mins -&nbsp;Chance. And this time for the Town as Newton dicests the home defence to find Jason Walker in space but the striker, through on goal, can only drag his shot the wrong side of the far post. Brabs applauds Newton's pass.
10 mins - More great keeping from Tyler and the Town are somehow still level. Constantine fluffs a shot from six yards but Chambers' cross from the right falls to Jonathan Smith who blasts a drive from 10 yards that the Hatters goalkeeper beats away. Conceivably the Minstermen should be two goals up.
9 mins - ...which Morgan-Smith hits the wall. He then takes a Howells pass after he'd drifted back into the box to win a corner but Howells' flag-kick from the left doesn't clear the first man.
8 mins - First man in the book is home skipper Chris Smith for a foul on Morgan-Smith on the edge of the box, Free-kick to the Town 20 yards out...
4 mins - We had some interesting offside decisions made at Field Mill on Saturday and the home crowd are up in arms about one here as the ball is played into an offside Morgan-Smith. He trots back but Jason Walker runs onto the ball. The linesman says offside but the referee waves play on and in the end both players and supporters land up confused.
3 mins - The Minstermen need to win this and at the minute are dominating these open stages.
2 mins - Chance. And the Town are thankful to goalkeeper Mark Tyler for a stunning point-blank save to deny the hosts Jamie Reed's thumping close range header from Ashley Chambers' right-wing corner. I shouted "what a save" and it certainly was that. Brilliant.
2 mins - The Town are playing 4-3-3 here, like they were at Crawley a week ago tonight. Tyler is in goal with Murray and Gleeson full backs, Graham and Pilkington, the captain, centre-backs. It's a narrow midfield three - Newton, Howells and Keane with Walker the focal point of three up top with Morgan-Smith from Barnes-Homer on the flanks.
1 min Annnnd we're off as referee Smith - the third man on the field with that surname - gets us underway as the hosts kick-off - after a group huddle - shooting towards the 200 or so Town fans on the terrace and seats away to our left.
19:42 HERE THEY COME
Out come the two sides on the pitch, the Town in navy blue, York in red and white...standby for handshakes and the coin toss and we're almost set. Enjoy the updates. COYH!
19:33 WHAT A DIFFERENCE
Almost a year on since the Play-Off fixture here at Bootham Crescent the atmosphere is a lot more low key than back in May 2010. That said York need a win tonight and the home support are sure to urge on their side to victory.
19:30 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS
Andrew Barringer: 1-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 1-0 Luton, Bill Cole: 1-1, Ian Ryan: 1-1, Simon Pitts: 2-0 Luton.
19:15 NEWS ON Z
Centre-half Zdenek Kroca is being rested tonight. Luke Graham will partner George Pilkington at centre-half.
I'm also aware in the last update I had put two Jake Howells in the side and for the second week running I've missed out Keith Keane. Apologies Keano!
19:05 TEAM NEWS
York City: Ingham, Darville, Meredith, J. Smith, Parslow, Reed, Barrett, Chambers, Constantine, Kerr, C. Smith.
Subs: Till, Carruthers, Rankine, Mackin, Boucaud.
Luton Town: Tyler, Gleeson, Graham, G. Pilkington, Murray, Newton, Keane, Howells, J. Walker, Barnes-Homer, Morgan-Smith.
Subs: Willmott, Gnakpa, Poku, D. Walker, K. Pilkington.
19:01 BREAKING NEWS
Hatters boss Gary Brabin makes three changes to the side that drew at Mansfield.
In come Luke Graham, Adam Newton and Matthew Barnes-Homer for Claude Gnakpa, Zdenek Kroca and Alex Lawless. Full teams to follow.
The sun is still shining here at Bootham Crescent. The Town players are now out on the pitch getting put through their paces. Dan Walker and Godfrey Poku are amongst those said players.
It's been an absolute stonker of a day weather wise and in York it's no different. It's a lovely, warm, spring evening here in this pretty city.
16:30 ALMOST THERE
The countdown to the season's end has began. Just two weeks of football remain until what we'd best describe as 'squeaky back-side time' kicks-in.
That's of course if the Town are indeed involved in Blue Square Bet Premier Play-Offs. They say never assume in football but, with four games left, the Hatters are within touching distance of securing their place in the top five and with it the prospect of two nail-biting semi-finals come May.
Tonight a squeaky, uncomfortable time is the feeling&nbsp;the Hatters' opponents York City are experiencing. According to boss Gary Mills they reserved their poorest performance under his stewardship for Saturday's must-win game against Tamworth - and duly lost 2-1.
With Fleetwood and Wrexham winning and Kidderminster drawing the defeat to the relegation threatened Lambs has put them under extreme pressure to hunt three important points tonight against the Town.
Hatters chief Gary Brabin, meanwhile, is keen to not only guarantee his side prevent that squeaky back-side time from rearing its head too soon before the Play-Offs, but also hopes to keep his unbeaten run intact against the team that beat them in the end-of-season lottery last term.
Brabs is aware that he uses the phrase "firing on all cylinders" a lot. But he's right. Damn right. Every players needs to be on their game and his selection policy so far has meant a number of players are reaching form at the right time.
Furthermore there's a plan b (and probably even a plan c) for the players to follow. While the Hatters boss has experimented with selection and tactics in his first six games in charge he's coming through with a big fat zero in the games lost column. Not easy given they included trips to Kidderminster and Crawley.
With York going full tilt for the three points tonight to ensure a Play-Off berth and the Town doing the same to confirm their place it should be a cracker at Bootham Crescent.
Well once more, as ever, win, lose or draw this evening, lutontown.co.uk will be following every step of the way.
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