YORK City ended their worst run of the season by recording the club's best away league win in almost 12 years.

Not since a 5-0 drubbing of Blackpool in April 1995, when goalscoring debutant Richard Brodie was just seven, have the Minstermen enjoyed such a convincing margin of victory on their Football League and Conference travels.

Even more encouragingly, City racked up four goals without leading marksman Clayton Donaldson getting on the scoresheet after returning from his three-match ban.

Donaldson's mere presence, however, still contributed to an impressive team effort.

The 20-goal striker's decision-making and finishing, untypically, left a little to be desired but his movement demanded constant attention from the Altrincham defence and created space for his team-mates to profit from.

Brodie's half-hour introduction to professional football was also hugely promising.

The 19-year-old, 6ft 3in forward looks a potent package of pace and power with a competitive streak that should strike fear into countless Conference defenders.

Brodie scored his first City goal within two minutes of replacing on-loan West Brom forward Rob Elvins and then delivered an excellent cross from which fellow replacement and lower league recruit Martyn Woolford completed the rout.

First-half efforts by midfielders Neal Bishop and Steve Bowey had earlier set the tone for a performance that could have easily reaped even more reward had Donaldson been his customary ruthless self in front of goal.

From the first whistle, the Minstermen looked intent on erasing last weekend's 2-0 home defeat to bottom club Tamworth from the memory and ending a sequence of four matches without a win.

And, having rarely looked like scoring during 90 minutes of insipid football against the Lambs, City took just 28 seconds to find the net at Moss Lane with Bishop's first goal of the season.

Donaldson fed Elvins, whose low drive across the face of goal was turned into an empty net from almost an inch by Bishop.

The ex-Scarborough midfielder looked suspiciously offside but the referee assistant's flag stayed down and the visitors could have doubled their advantage on five minutes.

Donaldson was released by Craig Farrell for a clear run on goal but his shot lacked conviction and was smothered by home 'keeper Stuart Coburn.

The Minstermen only had to wait another three minutes, however, to extend their lead.

City piled bodies into the penalty box throughout the early stages, unsettling a shaky home defence and the Robins' failure to clear their lines led to an untidy scramble that culminated in Bowey claiming his fourth goal in seven matches.

The 32-year-old midfielder got in the way of a scuffed Bishop shot but the resulting deflection beat a helpless Coburn who was sent diving the wrong way.

Centre-back Karl Munroe prevented a shell-shocked Altrincham side falling three goals behind after 12 minutes with a goal-line clearance after Elvins' low drive past Coburn.

Altrincham's frustration then manifested itself in ugly stamps from Steve Aspinall and Munroe on Elvins and Donaldson respectively which were fortunate to go unpunished.

But the Robins did improve as an attacking force as the half wore on and Rod Thornley's thumping 25-yard drive struck a post. Thornley also went close again when a Chris Senior volley struck him but ricocheted wide.

At the other end, Donaldson failed to convert another one-on-one opportunity when his shooting angle diminished after rounding Coburn following a Bowey through ball.

The 23-year-old striker then provided Elvins with a clear run on goal after a clever back-heel but the sidefooted finish was too close to the overworked Coburn.

In the second half, Thornley narrowly missed the target with an acrobatic scissors-kick before Brodie stole the show.

Immediately winning a header on his arrival, the former Newcastle Benfield striker then scored with his second touch, seizing gleefully on to the loose ball and sidefooting into an empty net after Donaldson had ignored his appeals for a low cross and rather selfishly tried to beat Coburn at his near post.

Donaldson then hit an upright after rounding Coburn on the edge of his box before Brodie deftly flicked the ball past last defender Peter Band but then hesitated and allowed Munroe to catch him and make a strong recovery tackle.

Brodie's impressive cameo, however, was not yet finished and, in the last minute, he raced to the byline to collect Darren Craddock's pass before spinning and delivering a perfect cross that was met by Woolford, who found Coburn's bottom right-hand corner with a flick of his left boot.

Match facts
Altrincham 0, York City 4 (Bishop 1, Bowey 8, Brodie 66, Woolford 90)

York City: Evans 7, Craddock 8, Parslow 9, McGurk 9 (Dudgeon 67, 7), Lloyd 9, Bowey 9 (Woolford 76), Panther 8, Bishop 9, Farrell 9, Elvins 8 (Brodie 64, 9), Donaldson 8.

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

Subs (not used): Reid, McMahon, Star man: Craig Farrell - worked selflessly for the team down the right flank.

Altrincham: Stuart Coburn, Steve Aspinall, Peter Band, Karl Munroe, Andy Scott, Rod Thornley (Pat McFadden 67), Steve Bushell (Warren Peyton, 68), Robbie Lawton, Lewis Chalmers, Colin Little, Chris Senior (Joe O'Neill, 67). Subs not used: Gary Scott, Gary Talbot.

Bookings: Thornley 48, Munroe 59, Lloyd 73.

Sent off: None.

Referee: Mark Brown (Hull). Rating: missed certain incidents but generally good.

Attendance: 1,327 Weather watch: Chilly, but no snow.

Game breaker: Brodie's debut goal put game beyond Altrincham.

Match rating: City were back to their attacking best against an Altrincham team who struggled to cope with the visitors' onslaught.

Billy's verdict: "That game was what York City is all about. It was a great team effort. We got a fantastic start and carried on from there."

Player watch: Tom Evans

On-target shots faced: 1Shots held: 1Shots parried: 0Shots saved/shots faced ratio: 100 per cent Kicks to own player: 14Kicks to opposition: 15Kick success rate: 48.3 per centThrows to own player: 4Throws to opposition: 0Throw success rate: 100 per centCrosses caught: 2Crosses punched: 1Crosses dropped: 0Fouls conceded: 0Fouls against: 1Bookings: 0Final summary: Evans was an admiring spectator for long periods and was only called on to make one routine save although Rod Thornley did rattle a post. His kicking was very reliable, however, and he was not afraid to start off moves from the back with his defenders willing recipients. Judgement was also good on the rare times Altrincham tested him.