York 4-1 Rovers
York City 4
Kenneth (og, 13), Chambers (15 & 33), Walker (19)
Bristol Rovers 1
Matt Lund’s return from injury and suspension meant that he was the only change to this afternoon’s starting lineup.
He replaced of Ollie Norburn, who dropped to the bench as Rover made their first appearance at this venue for nine years.
A shellshocked Rovers side trooped off the pitch at half time grateful for some respite after conceding four first half goals.
All of the goals scored by the home side were preventable and they owed as much to a pedestrian Rovers back line as they did to their own skills.
There was little hint of what was to come as both sides searched for an opening in the early stages, but the game sprang into life on 13 minutes.
When Ashley Chambers crossed from the left, there seemed to be little danger for Rovers’ defence. However Garry Kenneth’s attempted clearance saw the ball skim off his head and fly past Sam Walker.
The response was immediate and a minute later when Tom Eaves found himself in space, he let fly with a right foot shot that easily beat Michael Ingham.
Incredibly, York regained the lead the very next minute when Chambers arrived, unmarked, at the back post and headed past Walker.
It became worse on 19 minutes when Jason Walker had all the time in the world to run on to a ball over the top before comfortably beating his namesake in the Rovers goal.
Fabian Broghammer saw a shot deflected behind for a corner before the arrival of goal number four.
Chambers again found himself in space and ran on to a through ball before slipping a shot past Walker.
The home side lost Patrick McLaughlin with what seemed to be a serious injury, following a challenge for a 50/50 ball before the break, and Rovers did have a few chances of scoring before the half time whistle.
A David Clarkson shot was blocked, a Joe Anyinsah effort touched over the bar by Ingham and a Tom Parkes header was cleared off the line.
There was an improvement after the break, but by then it was too late to rescue anything but pride.
Michael Smith, on as a half time substitute, prevented another goal when his perfectly timed tackle denied Chambers a hat trick.
At the other end Eaves hit a shot just wide and then hit a shot into the side netting after being played in by Clarkson.
Clarkson then saw Ingham clear his shot off the line and Parkes headed over the bar before Eaves, who never stopped running all afternoon, hit a low cross into the area. That was cleared as far as Seanan Clucas whose shot was blocked.
The young midfielder, who put in an impressive second half performance after replacing Lund at the start of the second half, then played in Smith whose first time effort was saved by Ingham.
The home side, always looking comfortable defending their lead, might have added a fifth goal just before the end but Jonathan Smith probably had too much time and space and hit a hurried shot wide of the target with only Walker to beat.
The final whistle must have come as a relief to the 282 Rovers fans who made the long journey north. They deserved much better fare than this.
Team: Sam Walker, Danny Woodards (Michael Smith, 46), Garry Kenneth, Guy Branston (Eliot Richards, 88), Jim Paterson, Fabian Broghammer, Matt Lund (Seanan Clucas, 46), Tom Parkes, David Clarkson, Tom Eaves, Joe Anyinsah
Substitutes: Ollie Norburn, Ellis Harrison, Conor Gough, Derek Riordan
York City: Michael Ingham, Chris Smith, Daniel Parslow, Scott Kerr, Jason Walker, Ashley Chambers (Alex Rodman, 65), Jamal Fyfield, Matty Blair, Michael Potts, Chris Doig (Tom Allan, 56), Patrick McLaughlin (Jonathan Smith, 45)
Substitutes: Paul Musselwhite, David McGurk, Jamie Reed, Lee Bullock
Referee: Paul Tierney
Rovers supporters: 282