York City 6, Braintree Town 2 YORK City hit six goals in a league game for the first time since 1985 against Braintree Town on Saturday.

A scintillating 6-2 success saw City enjoy their most prolific 90 minutes in 26 years, aside from the 2007 6-0 FA Cup rout of Rushall Olympic.

Tony Canham hit a hat-trick, Keith Walwyn bagged a brace and Keith Houchen and Stephen Senior were also on target during the last occasion the Minstermen scored so many times in one league game.

With Midge Ure at number one and Margaret Thatcher prime minister, Darlington were beaten 7-0 on another October afternoon in an old third division encounter at Bootham Crescent.

But Houchen, never one prone to hyperbole, was led to venture after watching Saturday’s match that Gary Mills’ class of 2011/12 might even be better than the record-breaking mid-80s’ side that he graced.

That team, of course, famously became the first team in England to reach 100 points in a league campaign and, while this group of players have not achieved anything approaching that scale yet, their potential remains exhilaratingly exciting.

Braintree, like Luton and Wrexham before them, became the latest high-flying rival to be swept aside by City’s devastating pass and move game this season.

Jason Walker and Andre Boucaud’s mastery of a football was once more a joy to behold but this victory was also an afternoon for some of the squad’s more unsung members to enjoy a little limelight.

Former Newcastle United reserve Paddy McLaughlin continues to grow in stature in the Minstermen’s midfield and, having teed up the equally understated Ashley Chambers for the game’s first goal, went on to add two fine first-half strikes himself.

Few centre-backs, meanwhile, will have a back-heeled goal on their CV but utility man Jamal Fyfield does now, following his improvised 37th-minute effort.

Fyfield, who hardly put a foot wrong all afternoon, could even cheekily lay claim to being City’s first choice in that position currently, having first kept captain Chris Smith out of the starting line up throughout September and, against Braintree, retained his place despite David McGurk’s return from a one-match suspension.

The efforts of Chambers, McLaughlin and Fyfield saw City lead 4-1 at the break, with the only blemish Sean Marks’ goal in first-half stoppage time.

Braintree added a second through Aswad Thomas just past the hour but, after Dave Stevens had been sent off for an alleged grab at Matty Blair’s arm, Jason Walker converted from the penalty spot.

Adriano Moké then completed the victory in spectacular style before visiting substitute Andy Yiadom also saw red at the death for a dangerous tackle on Chris Smith, meaning the visitors ended the match with nine men.

Not for the first time this season, the Minstermen mesmerised their opponents during a whirlwind first-half display in which Alan Devonshire’s side were chasing shadows for long periods.

The Essex side did themselves no favours, however, by allowing City’s rampaging left-back James Meredith all the time and space he needed to wreak havoc down that flank.

Braintree did cause an early scare when Marks headed over from six yards after being picked out at the far post by Jai Reason’s free-kick.

But, by the 15th minute, the hosts had forged ahead when McLaughlin fed an overlapping Chambers to his right and the former Leicester striker then cut inside Thomas before poking the ball into an onrushing Nathan McDonald’s bottom right-hand corner eight yards out.

Walker volleyed wide moments later from a cross by Chambers, who also tried his luck with an audacious 15-yard lob that McDonald was relieved to claw out of the air.

A brilliant passing move then ended with Stevens executing a last-ditch challenge to prevent the marauding Meredith from unleashing a free shot on goal.

Meredith was not to be denied on 28 minutes, however, when he collected a Smith pass and charged into the penalty box before slipping the ball to his right, where McLaughlin drilled a 12-yard shot past McDonald.

On 37 minutes, City made it 3-0 when Chambers’ cross from the left was kept in by Blair at the far post after McDonald had appeared convinced the ball would sail out of play.

Facing away from goal, Fyfield then back heeled into the Braintree ’keeper’s bottom right-hand corner from five yards.

It was 4-0 on 41 minutes as Walker fed the ball to McLaughlin, who sidestepped one challenge before powerfully beating McDonald at his near post with a 20-yard drive.

The Essex side did muster a reply, however, when Marks tapped into an empty net after Kenny Davis’ curling effort had bounced off Michael Ingham’s left-hand post.

After the restart, Chambers seized on a loose ball before sending in a cross from the left that saw Walker leap prodigiously but he could not direct his header below the bar from six yards out.

Braintree then rallied with Davis’ header calling Ingham into action at his near post and Boucaud clearing off the line after Matt Johnson’s header from the consequent corner.

Shortly afterwards, in the 62nd minute, the Iron did add a second goal with Thomas shooting into Ingham’s bottom left-hand corner from eight yards after Fyfield had denied Marks with a sliding challenge.

Daniel Parslow was sent on as a midfield anchorman to provide a little more defensive assurance and the intended steadying influence seemed immediate.

On 70 minutes, Blair raced on to a Jon Challinor through ball and the struggling Stevens was adjudged to have dragged the City winger back, leading to a penalty and a rather harsh red card.

Walker made no mistake from 12 yards, sidefooting into McDonald’s bottom left-hand corner as the Braintree ’keeper dived the opposite way.

Having been reduced to ten men, the introduction of Moké into the proceedings will not have been welcomed by the visitors and his sprints down the left flank terrorised them during an energetic and enthusiastic cameo outing.

The former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate went on to provide his side’s final flourish, collecting Meredith’s ball down the left before setting off on a diagonal run to the edge of the box and curling a shot into McDonald’s bottom left-hand corner.

Yiadom then compounded a miserable afternoon for the part-timers, launching into the air to execute an ugly tackle on Smith that received the inevitable punishment.

It will not have been of any consolation either for the defeated Devonshire that, due to their two goals, his Braintree team had helped contribute to an aggregate scoreline that has not been bettered at Bootham Crescent in more than half a century.

Back then, in February 1956, goals from Arthur Bottom (four), Norman Wilkinson (two), Gordon Brown, Peter Wragg and Billy Fenton secured a 9-1 annihiliaton.

The opposition? City’s hosts tomorrow night – Southport.

Match stats

York City

Michael Ingham 8

Jon Challinor 8

Chris Smith 8

Jamal Fyfield 9

James Meredith 9

Andre Boucaud 8

Scott Kerr 8

Patrick McLaughlin 9

Matty Blair 8

Jason Walker 8

Ashley Chambers 9

Subs: Daniel Parslow 8 (for Boucaud, 67), Adriano Moke (for Chambers, 79), Jamie Reed (for Walker, 86).

Subs not used: David McGurk, Michael Potts.

Star man: McLaughlin - his quality on the ball set City on their way but edges the award just ahead of Meredith.

Braintree: Nathan McDonald; Pat O'Connor, Adam Bailey-Dennis, Dave Stevens, Aswad Thomas, Matt Johnson, Kenny Davis (Andy Yiadom, 79), Nicky Symons, Jai Reason; Ben Wright (Brad Quinton, 45), Sean Marks (Mark McCammon, 63). Subs not used: Arjantaj Tajbakhsh, Ashley Jones.

Booked: Kerr 35, O'Connor 36, Symons 40, Challinor 58.

Sent off: Stevens 70, Yiadom 90.

Referee: Seb Stockbridge (Gateshead) rating: the first red card was debatable, the second probably wasn't.

Attendance: 2,640 (69 from Braintree).

Move of the match: Spoilt for choice here, but the passage of play that saw Meredith denied by Stevens' tackle was particularly memorable.

Shot of the match: Moke's final goal just eclipses McLaughlin's effort for the fourth.

Mistake of the match: Yiadom's injury-time challenge on Smith and resulting suspension, with his side trailing 6-2, was as senseless as Wayne Rooney's in Montenegro.

Head to head

Ashley Chambers v Pat O'Connor

Drafted into the side for the injured Ryan Peters, former Millwall defender O'Connor was given a torrid time by Chambers. The City winger made another lightning start to a game and beat right-back O'Connor for pace on several occasions. Chambers, having scored his team's first goal, also beat his man to deliver the cross that led to City's third and continued to provide quality service in the second period.

Shots on target: York 9, Braintree 5

Shots off target: York 8, Braintree 5

Corners: York 11, Braintree 6

Offsides: York 2, Braintree 1

Fouls conceded: York 15, Braintree 13