Plymouth's Tope Obadeyi cancelled out a Ryan Bowman goal for York as the League Two strugglers shared the points.
The hosts were denied early when Chris Smith's header was somehow kept out by Luke McCormick, and the keeper made two more vital saves before the break.
York's pressure paid off just after the restart, Bowman heading home a Luke O'Neill cross - the first goal Plymouth had conceded in almost 500 minutes.
But Argyle substitute Obadeyi soon levelled, heading in at the back post.
The result leaves Plymouth 18th, and York a place and two points behind.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
York City manager Nigel Worthington told BBC Radio York:
"I thought the first half we were excellent, the only thing we didn't do was score the all important goal and then you can probably get in at half-time and look to win the game from there.
"Second half we wanted to go and try and crank it up a little bit and turn the screw and see the game through.
"We've got a very good goal then we conceded a silly free-kick, we didn't defend it and they scored.
"When you're on top as much as we were in the first half you really have to go and try and kill the game off.
York City 24 Ingham 30 O'Neill (Clay - 93' ) 03 Davies 14 Montrose 04 Smith Booked 06 Parslow 02 Oyebanjo 29 Whitehouse 19 Bowman 09 Fletcher 11 Jarvis (Chambers - 83' ) Substitutes 01 Kettings 05 McGurk 08 Clay 10 Chambers 16 Fyfield 17 Cresswell 18 Platt Plymouth Argyle 23 McCormick 02 Berry 28 Reckord (Young - 45' ) 16 Trotman 05 Branston Booked (Gurrieri - 59' ) 04 Blanchard 06 Hourihane 17 Nelson Booked 07 Alessandra 09 Reid 08 Boco Booked (Obadeyi - 54' ) Substitutes 01 Cole 03 Blackman 11 Blizzard 14 Young 18 Harvey 26 Obadeyi 27 Gurrieri
Ref: Seb Stockbridge