Disgraceful. That's the only word to describe York City's display as they crashed to their heaviest defeat since the seven-down collapse at Burnley two years ago.

UP FOR IT: City's Barry Conlon rises to the aerial challenge. The striker netted twice - his first goals for the club - but it was to no avail as City crashed 6-3 at Underhill

The first outing at Barnet for six years was an abject humiliation. Underhill became 'Blunderhill' for City, who should be red-faced in shame.

Defensively they were wretched all through. But more pitiful was the absence of passion in key passages of the game, most painfully at the start of the second-half when they demonstrated all the resistance of a cream cracker under a sledge-hammer.

It was grossly insulting to the 350 City fans dealt such capital punishment. More of the same would fray the patience of all the saints in heaven.

Certainly manager Neil Thompson faces a premature examination of motivational powers in his fledgling career as a boss. He and his management team too were badly let down by the insipid show.

The hope was that the rout suffered a week earlier against Rochdale was a one-off. But seven days on the rearguard ricketiness deteriorated to unacceptable levels.

Whenever Barnet attacked City looked likely to surrender. It was only when the Bees had inflicted the sixth of their stings that City's sun-drenched torture ended.

City could not even muster any solace from shattering their goal-shyness was a vengeance. The three goals were totally eclipsed by the fulminating total tallied by Barnet.

That's nine goals conceded in two League games. Survival, let alone promotion, will be undermined by such leakage.

Fuming Thompson described it as 'Sunday League' football. But considering the status of the Minstermen that verdict was rather harsh on the Sunday game.

Taking every Citizen individually only three were wholly blameless - two-goal Barry Conlon, and midfield duo Christian Fox and Scott Jordan.

Elsewhere goalkeeper Russ Howarth was at fault for one of the Barnet six, but the teenager was afforded the scantiest of protection. And at least Matt Hocking, preferred to Barry Jones, was prepared to put his head where danger was.

Conlon shattered his goal famine, worthy reward for his foraging and his fire. But neither strike, which enabled City to go in front for the only time in the goal-dripping exchange, provided the fond farewell he envisaged before joining up with the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad for the next 11 days.

Schemer Jordan and young right-sided lieutenant Fox battled tirelessly in a desire to repel Barnet and drive City forward. Their respective surges contributed to City twice coming from behind to lead 3-2 at half-time before the entire Underhill arena fell in on them.

And while the finger could point to a Howarth spillage to gift Barnet their second goal, had it not been for his bravery the Bees might well have gone into the interval ahead by the same margin of victory with which they eventually finished.

It's not as if Barnet are noted for subtlety. Their creed, much favoured in the basement, is to bang the ball forward quickly, booming in crosses from both flanks.

Dividends were paid in spades against a City back-line who became as useless as the Mir space station, while the hosts' defenders were almost as culpable.

The upshot was that goals came along like London buses - several at a time. Only once was their arrival welcome to City.

Barnet took the lead within 11 minutes, Fraser Toms tonking in a volley. City responded with the first of several exquisite wing raids. Wayne Hall to John Williams and on low to Mark Atkins to sweep in his second goal of the campaign.

But barely had cheers subsided when Howarth dropped Toms' cross, and Scott McGleish was left with a simple header to restore the lead.

Howarth was courage personified in a double save denying John Doolan and McGleish before City bounced back with Conlon's brace.

Five games before the trip to Barnet he had not found the net. In five minutes he was twice on target, the first Robbie Fowler-like from Jordan's dash and cross, the second driven in from the edge of the area after Martin Garratt's shrewd pass.

Half-time arrived, City 3-2 up, but with every Underhill spectator aware more goals were to come. Miserably for City they were all down the slope past Howarth starting with Greg Heald's too-early equaliser and a three-goal barrage in four minutes from Darren Currie, Rob Sawyers an Ken Charlery. City by then were the proper Charlies.

Match Facts

YORK CITY: Russ Howarth, Andrew Dawson (Barry Jones 75min), Wayne Hall, Mark Atkins, Matt Hocking, Chris Fairclough, Christian Fox, Scott Jordan, Barry Conlon, John Williams (Rodney Rowe 63), Martin Garratt.

Subs unused - Neil Thompson, Bobby Mimms, Lee Bullock.

Goals: Atkins 14min; Conlon 34, 39.

Cautions: Fox (foul 70min).

Evening Press man of the match

Scott Jordan: At the heart of what was best going forward from City. Tireless worker and always seeking to keep things flowing with accurate passing.

BARNET: Danny Naisbitt, Sam Stockley (Lee Gledhill 88min), Rob Sawyers, Greg Heald, Mark Arber, John Doolan, Ken Charlery (Marlon King 77), Darren Currie (Paul Wilson 85), Warren Hackett, Scott McGleish, Frazer Toms.

Subs unused - Ben Strevens, Stephen Collis.

Goals: Toms 11; McGleish 16; Heald 49; Currie 64; Sawyers 66; Charlery 68.

Cautions: Sawyers (dissent 48min), Charlery (dissent 77).

Referee : Fraser Stretton (Nottingham)

Crowd: 1.896.

Fuming Tommo's apology to fans

Angry York City manager Neil Thompson issued an apology to fans after the Saturday battering by Barnet.

City's 6-3 defeat to their north London hosts was their worst for two seasons and the most humiliating in manager Thompson's short reign. It also spiralled City to 17th place in the Division Three table before this afternoon's home rescue mission against Northampton Town.

Thompson railed at what he described as an 'embarrassment'. He fumed: "We owe the fans an apology.

"I take full responsibility as I send the team out. But in the second-half we were an absolute shambles for 20 minutes. We let ourselves get bullied and we caved in. We got well and truly turned over, so we've got to get streetwise quickly. If not, we're in trouble."

The City manager said he was wounded by the abject manner of the defeat, adding: "It hurts me absolutely and I hope it hurts the players. I apologise to the fans. We let them down big time."

Warnings had been given to the City players about Barnet's game-plan to deliver quality service from the wings, but these went unheeded.

"We let them get 30 to 40 crosses in. We never cut off the supply. I said a few things at half-time, but I might as well have kept my trap shut because we started the second-half so sloppy."

Striker Barry Conlon was equally dismayed, the jarring defeat taking the shine off his two-goal farewell before linking up with the Eire Under-21 squad for the next 11 days.Sighed Conlon: "We made silly mistakes. I feel sorry for the fans. More lads should have been battling more."

Saturday marked the first occasion that City have suffered a 6-3 scoreline defeat in their Football League history.

In 1933/4 they won at Rochdale 6-3 - and just a few weeks later they beat the Lancashire club 6-1 at Bootham Crescent to record a remarkable double.Since their election to the League in 1929 there have been only seven higher aggregate scores:

1934/5 Crewe (H) 7-3; 1935/6 Mansfield (H) 7-5; 1935/6 Chester (A) 0-12; 1938/9 Crewe (A) 2-8; 1956/7 Scunthorpe (H) 9-1; 1957/8 Chester (A) 2-9, 1970/1 Brentford (a) 4-6.

Meanwhile, tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of City's first game in the Football League.

On that day they won a Third Division (North) fixture at Wigan Borough with goals from 15-year-old Reg Stockill and Jimmy Cowie.

The side lined up: Farmery, Archibald, Johnson, Beck, Davis, Thompson, Evans, Gardner, Cowie, Smiles, Stockill.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.