York City inflicted a first league defeat since mid-November on Blue Square Bet Premier title contenders AFC Wimbledon at Bootham Crescent last night.

The Minstermen produced an exhilarating display to win 4-1 against a visiting team that went into the game on top of the table.

First-half goals by Daniel Parslow and James Meredith gave City a deserved 2-0 lead at the break.

Then, after the Wombles were given brief hope with a 63rd-minute goal from Christian Jolley, wonder strikes from Michael Rankine and Ashley Chambers wrapped up the points in fantastic fashion.

City manager Gary Mills made three changes from the side that started Saturday’s 4-0 thumping at Southport.

Deadline-day signings Scott Kerr and Liam Darville were handed their debuts and Jonathan Smith returned from suspension.

David McGurk was missing as he served a one-game ban for his red card at the weekend, while Chris Carruthers and Andre Boucaud dropped to the bench.

A perfectly-observed minute’s silence marked the passing away of City’s all-time record goalscorer Norman Wilkinson before the home side kicked off the game in positive fashion.

Peter Till shot over from the edge of the box on three minutes after Levi Mackin’s long-range effort had been blocked.

Moments later, Mackin sliced wide from 20 yards after a penetrative run by Chambers.

Rankine then went close from 25 yards before Parslow, playing at centre-back in McGurk’s absence, gave the hosts a deserved lead on 16 minutes.

The former Wales Under-21 international jumped high to meet Chambers’ free-kick – won by Darville –and planted a powerful header into visiting ’keeper Seb Brown’s bottom right-hand corner.

City were then unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Chambers charged on to a Rankine through ball and was nudged off balance by Dons centre-back Fraser Franks.

The on-loan Leicester striker was wrongly punished for his honesty, though, as, had he fallen to the turf, referee James Adcock would no doubt have pointed to the spot and sent Franks off.

Rankine and Mackin had further chances for the Minstermen before Kerr almost hit the corner flag with an ambitious 35-yard attempt.

Wimbledon and Franks survived more penalty shouts, however, when Rankine tumbled over the harassed defender.

Mills’ men then added a second goal in first-half stoppage time when Meredith displayed immaculate ball control to take Jonathan Smith’s lofted pass over the Dons’ defence in his stride and produced an equally impressive finish past Brown with the outside of his left boot to claim his first goal for City.

The visitors did not muster a single shot at Michael Ingham’s goal in the first period – on or off target – although Darville did make a terrifically-timed tackle to bring an end to James Mulley’s advance into the penalty box.

City began the second half just as confidently with Kerr’s neatly-threaded through ball giving Jonathan Smith a clear shot on goal but he aimed his 12-yard drive straight at Brown.

Completely against the run of play, the visitors reduced the deficit with their first goal attempt of the night on 63 minutes.

Jolley broke quickly through the right channel and belted an unstoppable angled drive in off Ingham’s crossbar from 12 yards.

Undeterred, City continued to drive forward and an excellent flowing move might have restored the two-goal advantage on 68 minutes.

Till fed overlapping substitute Carruthers and his low cross perfectly picked out Rankine six yards from goal but the home side’s top scorer saw his shot smothered by Brown.

The former Rushden striker made amends in spectacular fashion just two minutes later, however, with his 11th – and best – goal of the season.

Darville, making another lung-busting run down the right, pulled the ball back for the 6ft 3in striker who, 25 yards from goal, sent a sidefooted effort looping over Brown and dipping under the Wombles’ keeper’s crossbar.

The match was put beyond doubt in the 84th minute when Chambers, cutting in from the left, found Brown’s top left-hand corner with a wonderful curling 20-yard effort.

Chambers might have added a fifth but shot straight at Brown after Jonathan Smith’s neat pass.

Match facts

York City 4 (Parslow 16, Meredith 45, Rankine 70, Chambers 84), AFC Wimbledon 1 (Jolley 63)

York City: Michael Ingham 7, Liam Darville 9, Daniel Parslow 9, Chris Smith 8, James Meredith 9, Levi Mackin 9, Scott Kerr 8, Jonathan Smith 9, Ashley Chambers 9, Michael Rankine 9, Peter Till 8.

Subs: Chris Carruthers (for Mackin 61, 8); Leon Constantine (for Rankine 82).

Not used: Jamie Reed, Greg Young, Andre Boucaud.

Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.

City’s star man: James Meredith – great return at left-back capped by his first goal for City.

AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Sam Hatton, Fraser Franks, Jamie Stuart, Gareth Gwillim, Ryan Jackson (Mark Nwokeji 39), Steven Gregory, Ricky Wellard (Brett Johnson 46), James Mulley, Danny Kedwell, Christian Jolley.

Subs not used: Ed Harris, Jack Turner.

Booked: Hatton 28.

Sent off: None.

Shots on target: York 8, Dons 3.

Shots off target: York 7, Dons 1.

Corners: York 3, Dons 1.

Fouls conceded: York 7, Dons 11.

Offsides: York 1, Dons 3.

Referee: James Adcock (Nottingham).

Attendance: 2,438 (177 from Wimbledon).