York City scored six goals away from home for the first time in more than 40 years to see off Salisbury in the second round of the FA Trophy.
Not since a 6-0 FA Cup triumph over South Shields in 1968 have the Minstermen claimed a half-dozen haul on their travels.
In fact, Saturday’s Trophy triumph represented only the third time City have achieved such a feat during the post-War period and only the fourth since the club were admitted into the Football League back in 1929.
The other occasions that City have been so potent on the road came during the famous Happy Wanderers’ season of 1954/5 when Wrexham, like Salisbury six decades on, were humbled 6-2 and, in 1933/4, when Rochdale were on the receiving end of a 6-3 thrashing.
Another landmark has, therefore, been recorded by Gary Mills’ freescoring side and, just as was the case in last month’s 7-0 dismantling of Kettering, they did it without the services of injured 15-goal leading marksman Jason Walker.
Braces for Matty Blair and Paddy McLaughlin at Salisbury mean those two players are now closing in on Walker’s position at the top of the Bootham Crescent goal charts, having taken their personal tallies to 12 and ten respectively.
Blair, who continues to operate on the flanks, now possesses a strike rate that would be the envy of nearly every centre forward in the land with ten goals from his last nine matches.
Former Newcastle reserve midfielder McLaughlin, meanwhile, looks a threat every time he pulls back his left foot anywhere within 30 yards of goal, be that from a dead ball or in general play.
Jamie Reed’s spectacular first-half strike means he has also now contributed seven goals 2011/2 despite only starting nine games, while new boy Matthew Blinkhorn announced his arrival at the club by netting within four minutes of his debut as a second-half replacement for the former Bangor City striker.
In truth, City perhaps could not have faced Sailsbury at a more opportune time.
Following the spotlight that was thrown on them as the lowest-ranked club left in the FA Cup the previous weekend, this tie was always going to suffer from an element of after the Lord Mayor’s Show for the home side.
The Wiltshire part-timers’ cause was not helped either when captain Chris Giles was crocked during the pre-match warm-up with a depleted roster, hampered by cup-tied new players, already leading to appearances on the bench for assistant manager Michael Harris and defensive coach Michael Cooper, as well as the inclusion of three transfer-listed players in Jake Reid, Joshua Casey and Adam Kelly among the eventual match-day squad of 15.
Shot-stopper Mark Scott, Salisbury’s man of the match during the 3-1 third round defeat at Sheffield United in the third round of the Cup seven days earlier, was unavailable, meanwhile, after being recalled from his loan spell at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium by Swindon.
That meant goalkeeper-coach Simon Arthur was drafted in for his first start of the season but he failed to deliver a masterclass between the sticks, being culpable for Blair and McLaughlin’s first goals and also Reed’s to an extent as City stormed into a 4-0 lead in the space of 15 first-half minutes.
Arthur looked fallible from the start when he spilled a low 20-yard drive from McLaughlin.
He then fumbled the ball over his own line on 19 minutes when Blair stabbed a four-yard shot towards goal after Reed had met the commanding Chris Smith’s cross following a Danny Pilkington free-kick from the left.
Blair then doubled City’s lead on 21 minutes with an almost carbon copy of the first of his two goals at Lincoln the previous weekend.
Seizing on the loose ball after Pilkington had been stopped in his tracks following Scott Brown’s right-wing cross, Blair swept a clinical first-time shot into Arthur’s bottom right-hand corner from 12 yards.
The Minstermen went 3-0 up on 26 minutes when James Meredith intercepted a Salisbury pass on the half-way line before passing to McLaughlin.
He, in turn, drove at the heart of the home defence before offloading to Reed who, 15 yards from goal, curled a shot over the stranded Arthur.
After Pilkington was tripped by Benjamin Adelsbury on 34 minutes, McLaughlin then got his name on the scoresheet curling a 25-yard free-kick past a badly-positioned wall and in off the scrambling Arthur’s left-hand post.
Seconds later, Daniel Fitchett called Michael Ingham into action for the first time but his low 15-yard drive lacked the power and direction to trouble City’s ’keeper.
But Ingham was picking the ball out of his net moments later, however, when Reid wriggled free of Dan Parslow before deftly lifting his eight-yard shot over the sliding former Northern Ireland international.
City signalled their second-half intent when Parslow had two headers cleared off the line in quick succession after the restart.
Following a little lull, Blinkhorn was then introduced and immediately forced Arthur into a save from his smart 20-yard shot on the turn. But the ex-Sligo Rovers forward was not to be denied when the next chance came his way on 70 minutes.
Pilkington released Blair for a raid down the right flank and his inviting low cross was met by a determined Blinkhorn, who opened up his body and guided the ball into the roof of Arthur’s net from four yards with his left foot.
Fellow City substitute Moses Ashikodi will be less pleased with his contribution from the bench – his mis-timed tackle, after Ingham had made a terrific reflex save to keep out Daniel Webb’s close range header, tripping Fitchett inches inside the box with the visitors’ goal in no danger.
Reid sidefooted to Ingham’s left to confidently convert on 81 minutes but the Minstermen were still not finished at the opposite end of the pitch.
Midfield anchorman Scott Kerr crowned another exemplary display by feeding Adriano Moké on the left wing.
Moké subsequently spotted a lung-busting forward burst through the left channel by McLaughlin, who was as keen as ever to find the net despite his side’s unassailable lead.
The birthday boy, who turned 21 on Saturday, then unleashed a powerful, rising 15-yard effort that Arthur could not keep out.
Victory also laid to rest a hoodoo that has plagued City in recent seasons. It might not rival nearby Stonehenge in the realms of unexplained phenomenon but City’s failure to beat part-timers Salisbury in six previous attempts, encompassing four defeats and two draws, has been the cause for some bafflement.
Having been greeted by the waft of local pig farming on their arrival in Wiltshire, however, the Minstermen left Salisbury with a growing whiff of Wembley in their nostrils.
Salisbury City 2 (Reid 36, 81 (pen)), York City 6 (Blair 19, 21; Reed 26; McLaughlin 34, 87; Blinkhorn 70)
York City: Michael Ingham 7, Jon Challinor 7, Daniel Parslow 7, Chris Smith 8, James Meredith 7, Scott Kerr 8, Scott Brown 7, Paddy McLaughlin 8, Matty Blair 8, Jamie Reed 7, Danny Pilkington 7.
Subs: Matthew Blinkhorn 7 (for Reed, 66), Adriano Moké (for Blair, 77), Moses Ashikodi (for Pilkington, 77). Not used: Boucaud, Fyfield.
Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.
Star man: McLaughlin – celebrated his 21st birthday in style with two typical left-footed strikes.
Salisbury: Simon Arthur, Luke Ruddick (Josh Casey, 76), Daniel Webb, Brian Dutton, Ryan Brett, Charlie Lossano (Adam Kelly, 63), Stuart Anderson, Darrell Clarke, Benjamin Adelsbury, Daniel Fitchett, Jake Reid. Subs not used: Michael Cooper, Michael Harris.
Booked: Ruddick 27, Reid 45, Webb 83.
Shots on target: Salisbury 5, City 10.
Shots off target: Salisbury 2, City 2.
Corners: Salisbury 4, City 5.
Fouls conceded: Salisbury 18, City 16.
Offsides: Salisbury 8, City 3.
Referee: Steve Bratt (Walsall). Rating: displayed good judgement and never far from the action.
Move of the match: Blinkhorn’s first goal for his new club was as well crafted as it was executed.
Save of the match: Ingham’s low stop to his left to deny Webb.