The on loan Bury frontman had not found the net in the league since September but ended his barren spell with a curling effort midway through the second half.
A dismal first period saw both sides struggle to create chances. Robins goalkeeper Scott Brown was tested by a long-range Pat McLaughlin effort after 10 minutes, with Keith Lowe heading a corner over from close range a minute later.
But it was a different tale after the break with both sides looking for the breakthrough.
Brown saved well at his near post after 55 minutes to keep out Matty Blair with York keeper Michael Ingham finally forced into action soon afterwards when he did well to block a point-blank Harrad effort.
Cheltenham struck just two minutes after the introduction of substitutes Kaid Mohamed and Jermaine McGlashan. And the former had a hand in the 67th-minute goal, helping a Marlon Pack pass into the path of Harrad who brilliantly curled his shot around Ingham.
York's equaliser came six minutes from time when a free-kick was headed on by Chris Smith and Jason Walker steered the ball over the line.