WITH flood warnings being issued up and down the country, York City alerted the rest of the Blue Square Premier of their own devastating potential last night.

The Minstermen produced their finest performance during manager Colin Walker's 12-match unbeaten reign to triumph 4-1 at Grays Athletic and progress to the last 16 of the FA Trophy.

It was a terrific result for City against a Grays team who boast the second-meanest defence in the highest echelon of non-League football.

As two-time winners of the Trophy in 2005 and 2006, Grays also clearly take the competition, which will again culminate in a Wembley final, very seriously.

Furthermore, last night's stunned hosts were tasting defeat on home soil for the first time since October 9 - an eight-game sequence, including seven victories with promotion candidates Cambridge United and Aldershot the most recent to leave the Recreation Ground without reward.

Table-topping Aldershot will now regard Saturday's visit to KitKat Crescent as a true test of their title credentials.

Midfielder Nicky Wroe scored goals either side of half-time to give City a foothold in last night's match with Martyn Woolford and Richard Brodie also on target to underline their potency as striking partners after being preferred up front to Onome Sodje and Paul Brayson.

City signalled their attacking intentions from the start with on-loan Tottenham goalkeeper David Button forced into his first save of the night after just 50 seconds, tipping over an Anthony Lloyd header from Ben Purkiss' cross.

David McGurk also headed wide and Stuart Elliott went close with a low 25-yard effort before the Minstermen forged ahead on 35 minutes.

Danny Parslow and Woolford combined to create an opportunity for Brodie and, when the former Newcastle Benfield striker's low drive was parried by Button, Wroe prodded the ball into an inviting net with just enough power to beat Cam Mawer's desperate attempt to clear.

Shot-shy Grays rarely threatened Tom Evans' goal in the first period, aside from a couple of Jon Ashton efforts from corners and an ambitious volley from Mawer that cleared the target by a distance.

Just as in the first half, City were quickly into their stride following the restart with Brodie heading over from a Woolford cross after just 27 seconds.

Moments later, Woolford tested Button from 25 yards before Wroe doubled the visitors' advantage although his edge-of-the-box effort took a wicked deflection before drifting in off the home 'keeper's left-hand upright.

The ever-dangerous Woolford had another shot saved by Button prior to getting his name on the scoresheet after 58 minutes with a goal that was as perfectly crafted as it was executed.

Wroe found Brodie running down the left channel and the willing striker's deep cross into the box picked out Woolford who, ten yards from goal, watched the ball drop over his shoulder, before volleying into Button's bottom right-hand corner without letting it bounce.

Scintillating City added a fourth when Brodie had his heels clipped by Grays defender Santos Gaia in the penalty box.

Brodie took the 67th-minute spot-kick himself and found Button's bottom right-hand corner as the England Under-19 international dived in the opposite direction.

The only blemish on the Minstermen's display came four minutes later when Wroe could only clear an Alan Power corner to the edge of the box.

Michael Standing then headed the ball back into the danger area and substitute Danny Kedwell swivelled to send an impressive volley past Evans.

But the goal was only ever going to be a consolation and Wroe twice went close to claiming his first senior hat-trick, while Woolford rattled the crossbar in injury time after typically mesmerising footwork.

The victory means City are undefeated on their travels in 11 games since an unlucky 2-0 defeat at Aldershot on September 18.

Saturday's return fixture is certainly a mouth-watering prospect.

Match facts

Grays Athletic 1 (Kedwell 71), York City 4 (Wroe 35 49, Woolford 58, Brodie pen 67)

York City: Tom Evans 7, Danny Parslow 8, David McGurk 9, Darren Craddock 8, Ben Purkiss 8, Anthony Lloyd 8, Stuart Elliott 8, Manny Panther 8, Nicky Wroe 9, Martyn Woolford 9, Richard Brodie 9.

Substitutions: Onome Sodje (for Craddock, 84)

Subs not used: Josh Mimms, Andy McWilliams, Phil Turnbull, Paul Brayson.

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: Martyn Woolford - his movement across the front line and dropping deep was a constant cause of torment for the Grays' back-line.

Grays Athletic: David Button, Cam Mawer (Simon Downer 70), Santos Gaia, Jon Ashton, Jack Obersteller, Karl Murray, Ian Selley (Danny Kedwell 46), Alan Power, Ben Watson (Colin Daniel 62), Michael Standing, Aaron O'Connor.

Subs not used: Ross Flitney, Neil McCafferty.

Yellow cards: Power 39, Elliott 65.

Shots on target: Grays 5, York 10

Shots off target: Grays 4, York 7

Corners Grays 8, York 7

Fouls Grays 11, York 14

Offsides Grays 0, York 2

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight).

Rating: On top of most things and decisive when he needed to be.

Attendance: 528.

Cross of the match: Brodie's excellent centre for Woolford's goal.

Shot of the match: The fierce stoppage-time effort by Woolford that shook the Grays crossbar.

City player watch: Striker Richard Brodie

Goal attempts on target: 2

Goal attempts off target: 1

Blocked goal attempts: 0

Passes to own player: 13

Passes to opposition: 5

Pass success rate: 66.7 per cent

Crosses to own player: 3

Crosses to opposition: 3

Dribbles retained: 2

Dribbles ball lost: 6

Dribble success rate: 25 per cent

Headers: 13

Tackles: 5

Clearances, blocks and interceptions: 1

Free-kicks won: 1

Free-kicks conceded: 4

Offside: 1

Booked: 0

Final summary: Created two goals and won a penalty and converted himself. Always a handful for the home defence even if his style is not always popular with officials, as is proven by the fact he was penalised four times. His willingness to run down the channels was also illustrated by the six crosses he made with three finding a team-mate.