Athlone Town 1, City 4

If that was for starters, City fans are going to be in for a treat with Mark Yeates.

The Irishman got his first outing on home soil and gave a performance that had Championship quality stamped all over it.

Forget it was only a friendly, Yeates showed the vision and creativity around the box that made it clear why Phil Parkinson worked so hard to snap him up.

Parkinson had upped the ante from Saturday with a very strong starting line-up – and Yeates stole the show with a goal, an assist and other threatening moments.

Port Vale rattled six past Athlone last week and City had the chances to equal that by half-time. This was despite the shock of falling behind when James Meredith’s deflection made Neil Harney’s cross too hot to handle for keeper Gary Woods.

The former Doncaster stopper was one of only two trialists, with Italian Raffaele De Vita given a second outing but this time on the right. They are the only two wannabes currently on tour – Brian Jensen, Jon-Paul McGovern and Vincent Acapandie had not been invited back for more.

City turned their unexpected deficit into a convincing 3-1 lead within an 11-minute burst.

Nahki Wells rapped the equaliser after good anticipation from Nathan Doyle to swoop on a wayward pass.

Then Yeates tried to flick a pass through for Gary Jones, had it blocked back to him and promptly switched feet quickly to ping in a left-foot blast from 20 yards.

The midfielder then turned provider to tee up Rory McArdle for a third with a teasing ball to the far post.

There was no tongue-out celebration from the defender – but he did get a loud chorus from the travelling fans.

The advantage did not flatter the visitors. Yeates and De Vita were thwarted by fine saves from Padraig Dunican and James Hanson’s header thumped the bar and bounced back off the line.

James O’Brien’s reunion with City lasted less than half an hour as he limped away with a knock. But he had shown a decent touch in that brief period and Athlone, to their credit, kept trying to knock the ball about.

Yeates continued to enjoy himself after the break, forcing another save from a free-kick and displaying a bit of razzle-dazzle around the penalty area.

He was one of the nine changes made just after the hour mark, with De Vita the only outfield player to stay on – both trialists getting the extended run-out to advance their claims.

With no Andy Gray to call on, Garry Thompson was thrust into striking duty alongside Alan Connell.

And the woodwork magnet soon did it again with a crashing shot against the crossbar – something he had mastered last season. Thompson remains the undisputed king of the crossbar challenge.

De Vita went off with eight minutes left to leave City a man short for the closing stages. The winger did not appear to have suffered a knock.

Athlone should have taken advantage of their extra numbers with a three-on-two break but Niall Scullion skewed his shot wide with only Woods to beat.

The City stopper had more to worry about with a late pinball flurry that flew towards him off another amber shirt. But this time he was alert to prevent the embarrassment of a second own goal.

After Athlone’s lack of composure in a scoring position, Connell demonstrated exactly how it should be done a couple of minutes later.

Like Wells, he made it two goals in two friendlies by threading the ball beneath the host keeper to sign off an enjoyable and rewarding night’s work.

City: Woods, Darby (Stockdill 61), Nelson (McHugh 61), McArdle (Heaton 61), Meredith (Swain 61), De Vita, Jones (Kennedy 61), Doyle (Ravenhill 61), Yeates (Reid 61), Wells (Connell 61), Hanson (Thompson 61).