THREE days later than is normally seasonal, York City staged their own horror show at Bootham Crescent.

Halloween might be a time of the year for tricks or treats, but neither were provided by the 10-man hosts during a 4-1 defeat to Bradford Park Avenue, who provided all the sparkle on a weekend when fireworks also lit up the sky in a city that Guy Fawkes famously once called home.

City chief Sam Collins, meanwhile, is now in desperate need of a plan as cunning as Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot, as he looks to ignite some fire into a squad of players who he is pleading to fight and scrap for a common cause.

Home fans endured a new low in the sixth tier of the English game, as their team conceded four times on their own soil for the first time in National League North and slipped to 15th in the standings – a point closer to the relegation zone than the play-off positions three months into the campaign.

Joe Tait’s 27th-minute sending off for striking away forward Jake Beesley with a flailing arm in the penalty box proved the decisive act in a low-key derby contest that had seen neither side fully assert their authority during the opening exchanges.

On-loan Salford striker Beesley swept the subsequent penalty past Adam Bartlett and, like an out-of-control Catherine Wheel, City’s defence were in a spin from that moment on.

Beesley went on to net his ninth goal of the season just after the break with Jamie Spencer adding a screamer shortly afterwards.

Left-back Sean Newton banged in a free-kick just past the hour mark as a consolation for the 10 men, before Bradford put the seal on a crushing victory with Ben McKenna’s 82nd-minute strike.

Earlier, the match had been slow to come to life with the afternoon’s first attempt on goal seeing away keeper Steven Drench make a smart 20th-minute reflex save after Jordan Burrow had met Jake Wright’s low cross from the left.

But, five minutes later, Tait received his marching orders and the City skipper’s indiscretion was amplified when Beesley aimed to Bartlett’s left from 12 yards as the City keeper dived in the opposite direction.

Further first-half chances saw Luca Havern’s far-post header from a Lewis Knight right-wing free-kick comfortably gathered by Bartlett, while Conor Branson also fired over from 30 yards.

Two goals within six minutes of the start to the second half, though, effectively sealed victory for the visitors.

First, on 47 minutes, Knight was afforded the freedom of the right flank before sending in a low cross that was diverted past a vulnerable Bartlett by Beesley from three yards out.

After Spencer lifted a 15-yard chance over, the same player then thundered a spectacular strike into Bartlett’s top-right corner after Hamza Bencherif’s headed clearance from Nicky Wroe’s corner only reached a position just outside the home box.

Responding to a seemingly lost cause, the Minstermen belatedly fought back, creating the game’s next seven chances during a spirited 20-minute period.

On 53 minutes, Adriano Moke released Newton through the left channel but, after the latter picked out Burrow eight yards from goal, the home striker sidefooted weakly straight at Drench.

Debutant Lewis Hawkins went on to see an edge-of-the-box drive effort whistle just over, while Newton also headed over at the far post from a Kallum Griffiths cross.

Griffiths, playing in an anchoring midfield role, also saw a 30-yard attempt safely gathered by Drench, before the latter was beaten just past the hour mark by Newton.

The former Wrexham left-back crashed a 20-yard free-kick into Drench’s top-left corner after Tom Allan had his shirt pulled.

Hawkins subsequently fired just over again from the edge of the box, while sub Jon Parkin headed off target from a Moke cross, before Bradford put the seal on a victory that moved them level on points at the top of the table with long-time leaders Chorley.

City centre-back Allan slipped and finished flat on his face in pursuit of chief tormentor Knight and, when the latter reached the left byline, he pulled the ball back for an unmarked McKenna, who emphatically found Bartlett’s top-left corner from 10 yards.

Spencer also curled narrowly wide from the edge of the box, while home sub Macaulay Langstaff curled the final chance of the afternoon at Drench from 30 yards.