MICHEL Platini was European Footballer of the Year, Margaret Thatcher was still Prime Minister and Midge Ure was number one with If I Was when York City last scored six goals in a senior first-team match.

More than two decades have passed since Denis Smith's Minstermen defeated Darlington 7-0 in October 1985 with Tony Canham grabbing a hat-trick. But, in truth, few poorer sides than Rushall Olympic can have visited Bootham Crescent in the intervening 22 years.

Certain visiting players on show during Saturday's FA Cup fourth qualifying round appeared to be carrying more timber than a Canadian lumberjack and it would have been no surprise had a fight broken out for the 38-inch shorts in the Rushall dressing room prior to kick-off.

Like any lower-league underdog, Rushall were plucky and valiant, but fit and threatening they weren't, which made for a perplexing first 70 minutes for home fans.

Up to that point, only an 18th-minute Onome Sodje goal separated the two teams in what had been a laboured performance from City.

Indeed, Southern League first division amateurs Rushall might even have taken advantage of a sloppy start to the second half, but goalkeeper Tom Evans remained alert to prevent midfielder Phil Rowe hooking in from close range.

Sodje then doubled City's lead and substitute Craig Farrell grabbed the club's third-quickest ever hat-trick in ten minutes before creating the final goal for Nicky Wroe.

It was a clinical finish to a game that, for long periods, had been typical of many in which City have struggled in front of their own supporters during the last two seasons.

Confidence certainly appears to be at a premium for some players in home fixtures compared to the freedom of expression that typifies many of their performances on the team's travels.

Whether a highly-expectant and, at times, critical KitKat Crescent crowd is contributing to the fluctuation in form between home and away matches is debatable.

City fans turned up anticipating an easier passage into the first round than their team seemed capable of managing for the first three-quarters of the match.

However, when Neil Tolson - a former City player - is telling his friend and Rushall captain Richard Brown before the match that the crowd will turn on their side if the game is goalless after "ten or 15 minutes", then a culture of negativity has clearly filtered on to the pitch for several seasons.

Rookie striker Richard Brodie certainly looks a shadow of the player that arrived from Newcastle Benfield last season, with his confidence ebbing away as a significant section of the home support greets every header won and pass completed by the 20-year-old forward with a sarcastic cheer and highlights each mistake with a cruel jeer.

Brodie should take some solace from the knowledge that a young Richard Cresswell was once a target for the City boo boys before going on to earn England under-21 recognition and big-money moves to Sheffield Wednesday, Leicester, Leeds and Preston, totalling more than £3 million in transfer fees.

Brodie will also not begrudge the plaudits his 59th-minute replacement Farrell received after a virtuoso display on his return to first-team action following a seven week lay-off.

Earlier, in the opening five minutes, Rushall's Lee Barrow and Sean Dowdall had both fired efforts into an away end populated by just 13 supporters. But a moment of class broke the deadlock on 18 minutes when Sodje sidestepped a Niki Preston challenge in the penalty box after receiving a Manny Panther pass and sidefooted into Tony Breedon's bottom right-hand corner.

Such flashes of inspiration were rare from City before the break, although Darren Kelly had an effort kicked off the line by Brown and Stuart Elliott saw a 20-yard drive deflected on to the crossbar.

At the other end, the visitors' best chance saw Evans parry a firm 38th-minute volley by the rotund Gary Birch, who might have piled on the odd pound or two since playing for Lincoln City in the League Two play-offs as recently as 2006.

Evans was again called into action to deny Rowe after the interval before Sodje put the tie beyond any doubt.

The 19-year-old striker had remained City's most dangerous outlet and, on 71 minutes, collected Paul Brayson's ball down the right, ran at the retreating defence and beat Breeden at his near post with a low 15-yard drive.

Seven minutes later, a strong run and well-timed pass by Elliott teed up Farrell for his first - an angled 12-yard drive into Breeden's bottom right-hand corner.

On 85 minutes, Farrell made it four when Preston failed to deal with Mark Robinson's punt upfield and the City sub drilled a low shot past the exposed Breeden.

Farrell's third goal was his best, turning and firing into Breeden's right-hand corner again from the edge of the box.

His treble was the first for City in an FA Cup tie since Paul Aimson in a 1970/1 5-0 win over Tamworth but he wasn't finished, expertly guiding an injury-time pass by Darren Craddock into the path of Wroe, who lifted the ball over an advancing Breeden from 12 yards.

City had eventually made their greater fitness and quality tell but standards will need to be higher if the home side are to avoid greater problems when Blue Square South side Havant and Waterlooville visit in the first round a week on Saturday.

Match facts

York City 6 (Sodje 18, 71; Farrell 78, 85, 88; Wroe 90), Rushall Olympic 0

York City: Tom Evans 7, Darren Craddock 6, David McGurk 6, Darren Kelly 6, Mark Robinson 6, Paul Brayson 6, Stuart Elliott 7, Manny Panther 7, Martyn Woolford 6, Richard Brodie 6, Onome Sodje 8.

Substitutions: Craig Farrell (for Brodie, 59) 8; Nicky Wroe (for Brayson, 78); Alex Rhodes (for Sodje, 80)

Subs not used: Mimms, Parslow.

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: Farrell - three goals and an assist in a 31-minute outing represented a great contribution.

Rushall Olympic: Tony Breeden, Lee Gough (Rob Holdcroft, 83), Lee Barrow, Richard Brown, Niki Preston, Richard Beale, Neil Barnfield, Phil Rowe (Damien Charie, 66), Grant Beckett (Dave Haywood, 84), Gary Birch, Sean Dowdall.

Subs not used: Karl Johnson, Paul Szewczyk.

Yellow and red cards: None.

Shots on target: York 12, Rushall 1

Shots off target: York 9, Rushall 8

Corners: York 6, Rushall 2

Fouls conceded York 5, Rushall 6

Offsides York 0, Rushall 2

Referee: Paul Tierney (Wigan).

Rating: gave best performance on the pitch behind Farrell and Sodje.

Attendance: 1,630.

Game breaker: Sodje's second goal on 71 minutes put tie beyond doubt.

Save of the match:Evans' quick intervention to prevent his team conceding an embarrassing equaliser.

Pass of the match: Farrell's assist for Wroe's final goal.

Moment of the match: The hilarious role reversal when a bemused Billy McEwan attempted to usher the fourth official out of his technical area.

City player watch: Right-back Darren Craddock

Goal attempts on target: 0

Goal attempts off target: 0

Blocked goal attempts: 0

Passes to own player: 43

Passes to opposition: 9

Crosses to own player: 0

Crosses to opposition: 5

Pass success rate: 75.4 per cent

Dribbles ball retained: 1

Dribbles ball lost: 4

Dribble success rate: 20 per cent

Headers: 6

Tackles: 7

Clearances, blocks and interceptions: 8

Free-kicks won: 1

Free-kicks conceded: 0

Offsides: 0

Bookings: 0

Final summary: Like most City players, Darren Craddock saw a lot of the ball against Rushall but did not always make the best use of it. None of his five crosses found a team-mate and he was also caught in possession almost every time he tried to go past an opponent. The combative right-back did, however, give a disciplined display, making seven clean tackles and not conceding a single free-kick.