Blues boss McCarthy admitted his side had let the fans down in the 1-0 FA Cup loss at Southport one week earlier.
But, backed by another large travelling support, he felt the opposite was true on a dramatic afternoon at Bootham Crescent.
Chester looked to be heading for a first Vanarama National League defeat since September 3 when their club record run without conceding a league goal came to an end after 738 minutes.
But in injury-time substitute Kane Richards headed in to spark jubilant scenes in the away end - and dash Gary Mills' hopes of a desperately needed win on his home return as York manager.
The deserved draw could not prevent the Blues from slipping one place to 12th in the standings going into Tuesday's big derby clash at high-flying Macclesfield Town.
But McCarthy said: "York are a big football club, they've had a new manager come in who we have a lot of respect for, and we know they've got some good players.
"Yes, they've been on a disappointing run but we've caught them at a time when things would be different.
"The work-rate and the performance of my players was outstanding.
"We asked them to create more chances and have more in front of goal because we felt that was lacking at Southport - and I don't think anybody can criticise my players.
"We had a big following today. They were disappointed last week and, while they haven't seen three points today, they have seen a team they can be really proud of, who worked hard and never gave up.
"I think if any of the fans would have been able to put that shirt on today, I think that's the energy, the tempo and the reaction they would have got from themselves if they were playing the game.
"I'm really proud of the response we got from the players.
"Now we're excited about going to Macclesfield and seeing if we can make it nine (unbeaten)."