York City are off and running.

It’s taken five games, but the Minstermen finally picked up their first victory of the season – against an Altrincham side who weren’t good enough to stifle Michael Rankine.

His first, and the goal which blew the pressure cooker lid off a tense Bootham Crescent after 70 minutes, was brilliantly taken – struck powerfully with his left foot into the bottom corner from 16 yards.

Rankine’s second, on the stroke of full time, wasn’t bad either, bringing to a close a super passage of play that involved Jonathan Smith and Michael Gash, before Richard Brodie picked out his strike partner to smash it home.

If Rankine’s brace was one of the reasons to be positive ahead of this afternoon’s trip to Fleetwood Town, then Brodie’s first goal of the season was cathartic.

Last season’s 37-goal striker would always fancy himself to score from the spot and his well-taken penalty, which put York 2-0 up with quarter of an hour remaining, ended any hint of further resistance from Altrincham.

The strike noticeably galvanised the Angel of the North and he was swamped by his team-mates as he wheeled away in celebration.

It should be the first of many.

City boss Martin Foyle believed Altrincham would come to scrounge their way to a draw and, though the passage of the game would prove him correct, the visitors initially went goal hunting.

Foyle brought in Peter Till to give the Minstermen more width but York were almost stung after five minutes when Michael Ingham had to scramble to bat away Matty Crowell’s dipping shot from some 40 yards.

Robbie Williams then tested Ingham with a header, from Crowell’s cross, before York – and Till in particular – went to work.

The former Walsall winger has had to wait for his first start but he certainly took full advantage with Ryan Brown powerless to stop Till repeatedly beating him on the outside and putting in dangerous crosses.

Brodie couldn’t direct a volley on target from one, while Sangare headed over from another swinging centre on 19 minutes.

City then had the ball in the net just before the half hour when Brodie forced home after Alex Lawless’s shot deflected into his path, but the effort was ruled out for offside.

It did not deter Foyle’s troops.

Lawless hit the top of the bar from a free-kick before Till played a lovely little pass through for Michael Gash, but the in-form striker couldn’t hit the target as the half ended in stalemate.

As the Minstermen continued to press into the second period – Sangare just shot wide of a post and Gash put an effort over the bar – Altrincham started to drop ever deeper and there were fears another Barrow was on the cards.

But two things happened.

Foyle brought on Rankine for Chris Carruthers and Lawless decided to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

On 70 minutes, he strode through the centre of midfield before Gash played a quick one-two with Rankine.

There was a lot for the striker to do, but he set off on a sideways run left before suddenly straightening up and lashing it with his left foot.

The shot went fast and hard straight into Coburn’s bottom left corner.

Cue relief, cue pandemonium, cue the second.

Having taken 70 minutes to get off the mark, it only took a further four for the Minstermen to double their tally.

Marc Joseph thought he could shepherd out Gash’s misdirected header on the byline but he hadn’t accounted for Brodie’s deceptively quick sprint.

As the former Newcastle Benfield frontman got there first, Joseph needlessly tripped him and referee Richard Clark pointed to the spot.

Brodie picked himself up, feinted to hit to his right, and sent Coburn the wrong way as he stroked the ball into the bottom left corner.

The shackles now off, City pressed for further spoils. Rankine saw a shot blocked after Lawless once again came effortlessly through the middle.

They were passing it around at will and it was through pressure and precision that they managed their third goal.

Gash and substitute Smith were both involved, looking to get on the scoresheet themselves, but the ball eventually came to Brodie on the left touchline.

He could have kept it in the corner and ran out the clock but instead he stood the ball up for the waiting Rankine in the penalty area and the striker turned and drilled it home to put the stamp on a welcome three points.

Match facts

York City3, Altrincham 0

York City:Michael Ingham 6, Daniel Parslow 6, David McGurk 7, Djoumin Sangare 7, James Meredith 7, Peter Till 8, Neil Barrett 6, Alex Lawless 8, Chris Carruthers 6, Michael Gash 7, Richard Brodie 6.

Substitutions: Michael Rankine (for Carruthers 58, 8), Jonathan Smith (for Till 82).

Subs not used: Duane Courtney, Greg Young, David McDermott.

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: Alex Lawless – Driving runs from midfield took the game by the scruff of the neck.

Altrincham: Stuart Coburn, Robbie Williams, Shaun Densmore, Michael Welch (Michael Twiss 75), Marc Joseph, Ryan Brown, James Smith, Anthony Danylyk (Tom McCready 81), Matty Crowell, Damian Reeves (Dale Johnson 63), Kevin Holsgrove.

Subs not used: James Coates, Danny Holmes.

Booked: Brodie 66.

Referee: Richard Clark (Morpeth).

Rating: Infuriated both managers with a stream of curious decisions.

Attendance: 2,095 (110 away fans).

Moment of the match: Rankine’s stunning left-foot shot into the bottom corner released the tension.

Move of the match: Great passage of play for City’s third goal. York exerted strong pressure before Rankine smashed it home.