First-half goals from Macaulay Langstaff (2), David McGoldrick and Dan Crowley were enough to see us past Bradford City.
The visitors scored twice in a very different second half but couldn't muster enough to claw the game back.
Luke Williams continued with Sam Slocombe in goal, but he favoured Richard Brindley to Lewis Macari in a back three along with Aden Baldwin and Kyle Cameron.
John Bostock made a welcome return alongside Jim O’Brien in central midfield while, out wide, Will Randall was given his first EFL start on the opposite flank to Aaron Nemane, with Jodi Jones serving a one-match suspension.
Up front, Langstaff was supported by the familiar duo of Crowley and McGoldrick – and both were heavily involved as we made a scintillating start.
Crowley was the catalyst, releasing Nemane into the area in a fashion we’ve seen so often this season and watching on as McGoldrick slid in to turn the ball home from six yards.
Langstaff saw a goal ruled out for offside and sent an effort just wide as our early dominance continued – but City danger man Andy Cook was offering a threat at the other end, heading and then shooting wide in quick succession.
Our own number nine will have been disappointed not to double our lead on 27 minutes as his header was saved by the legs of Harry Lewis, with Crowley seeing his follow-up deflected behind.
And Cook had a good headed chance of his own shortly afterwards, sending the ball straight at Slocombe from six yards.
It was an opportunity he would be left to rue as, five minutes later, we’d doubled our lead. In what was becoming a recurring theme, Crowley sparked the move into life with a defense-splitting pass for McGoldrick to run on to. Taking the ball into the area, McGoldrick saw his shot parried out to Bostock who showed excellent composure to set himself on the edge of the box before seeing his goalbound shot nudged on by Langstaff.
And there could be no doubts about the legitimacy of the Teessider’s second goal on 41 minutes as he scampered on to another perfectly-weighted pass from Crowley and timed his left-footed finish beyond the onrushing Lewis.
Few could have wished for a better first half in front of the Sky Sports cameras but we weren’t finished there as, shortly after Slocombe had pushed another Cook effort away, we made it four as Crowley deservedly got himself on the scoresheet. Langstaff did the hard work for him this time, brilliantly weaving into the area before supplying his team-mate to produce a delightful drag back and delicious dinked finish, completing a dream opening 45.
Any thoughts of the game being done and dusted proved misconceived, though, as the Bantams threw caution to the wind in the early exchanges of the second half.
And, after Baldwin had slid in to get a touch on Tyler Smith’s effort before it was well saved by Slocombe, the keeper was beaten by an Alex Gilliead effort which took a big nick off Brindley.
Williams saw fit to make a triple change thereafter, sending Connell Rawlinson, Tobi Adebayo and Sam Austin on for Cameron, Bostock and Randall.
And the changes appeared to have the desired effect as we soon went close twice through McGoldrick, the forward cutting in from the left to bend an effort just wide moments before sending a cross-shot off-target after his initial close-range effort had been saved.
It was proving to be a busy period for the forward, who saw yellow for a crunching challenge on Brad Halliday before dragging an effort a couple of yards wide.
But, just as it looked like we’d ridden out the visitors’ desperate attempts to get themselves back into the game, a couple of scares inside our area preceded Walker notching their second goal with a fine finish across Slocombe.
Cook then missed a big chance in the shape of a back-post header which would have set up a nervy finale that no-one could have foreseen at half-time.
But that was to be the Bantams’ last real chance to haul themselves back into a game which ended with Junior Morias, on for McGoldrick, and Langstaff both firing wide before, somewhat fittingly, Cook was denied again by Slocombe before fouling him on the follow-up in injury time.
STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron (Rawlinson 61'), Baldwin, Brindley; Randall (Adebayo 61'), Nemane; Bostock (Austin 61'), O'Brien (Gosling 74'), Crowley, McGoldrick (Morias 81'); Langstaff
SUBS: Stone, Macari
BOOKINGS: McGoldrick 69', Adebayo 78', Baldwin 90+3'
ATTENDANCE: 11,909 (2,276)