TOWN'S second string proved way too powerful for gritty UniBond Rossendale at Dark Lane last night.
Ahead after just 56 seconds thanks to a crushing raid and strike by new signing Mark Hudson, Town dominated to the end.
A first clean sheet of the pre-season schedule complemented further goals from Junior Mendes, Tom Clarke and substitute Matthew Young as Town conjured some neat passing moves.
Lee Fowler - back from his trial at Grimsby - watched from the bench as Town coped with a blustery wind and uneven pitch to record another solid workout.
Apart from punching clearances and catching crosses, Phil Senior was never seriously tested, although he needed help from John McCombe to clear a 36th-minute toe-poke from Dean Cooper which marked Rossendale's best scoring attempt of the match.
Mark Molyneux's home side were stunned by Hudson's first-minute strike, in fact, which came from a neat flick by striker John McAliskey and was finished with an unstoppable left-foot drive.
Hudson was the biggest influence on the match after that with his surging runs and clever prompting and he clearly enjoyed a central midfield slot alongside skipper Tony Carss.
Town should have increased their lead in the first half as Chris Brandon missed a glorious back-post heading chance from a Mendes cross and Gary Taylor-Fletcher missed the target with only keeper Andy Robertson to beat.
Two goals in the first two minutes of the second half, however, put paid to any nervousness.
Mendes netted with only 19 seconds on the clock, feeding off Taylor-Fletcher's through ball to race 50 yards and score, while young Clarke - who was impressive with some strong tackles at the back - was on hand to convert barely a minute later when Robertson spilled a Mendes shot following a corner.
A few spicy tackles went in after that - there had been a first-half flare-up between Brandon and Lee Wilkinson - but Town let their passing do the talking and could have added several more goals.
McAliskey saw a flying header brilliantly saved, a fate which later befell Taylor-Fletcher, while a McCombe overhead kick flew inches wide of the target.
Taylor-Fletcher also slid a shot into the side netting when he should have scored, so it was left to substitute Young, who impressed after replacing McAliskey, to round off the scoring on 88 minutes.
It came from an excellent pass down the left touchline by Carss and, when Young cut inside, he showed commendable composure to slide the ball beyond Robertson.
By that time, Adnan Ahmed - who is struggling to overcome a knee injury - was starting to look more comfortable on the left flank, and he will be encouraged to have come through 45 minutes unscathed.
Incidentally, the match was watched by former Town defender Ian Hughes, who is now playing for Bacup alongside Ben Thornley.
Town - Senior, Hardy, Lloyd, Hudson, McCombe, T Clarke, Brandon (Ahmed HT), Carss, McAliskey (Young 65), Taylor-Fletcher, Mendes. Subs not used: Fowler, Walls, Hand, Eastwood (Gkp).