Fulham had far too much firepower for a spirited York City side as the Second Division league leaders eased to a comfortable victory at Bootham Crescent this afternnon.

York couldn’t be faulted for their effort but never really recovered from conceding the crucial opening goal in first half stoppage time after their deluged defence conceded twice in the last six minutes of the first half. The hosts did threaten to take the lead early on when Neil Thompson’s terrific thirty-yarder forced a fine save from Northern Ireland goalkeeper Maik Taylor.

But the Cottagers were far more clinical in front of goal and constructed a crucial two-goal lead at the end of the first period. Geoff Horsfield gave them the lead with a powerful header from Steve Finnan’s fine, floated cross and Barry Hayles scored the killer second after captain Chris Coleman’s effort had been scrambled off the line.

There was no way back for York when they conceded a third six minutes after the interval as the impressive Steve Hayward led a lightning Fulham counter-attack. The midfielder, who starred in the Londoners’ superb run to the FA Cup fifth round, steered the ball into the path of half-time substitute Paul Peschisolido, who plundered his sixth league strike of the season to secure a precious three points for the pacesetters.

YORK CITY (4-4-2): Warrington; Thompson, Barras, Jones, McMillan; Himsworth (Rowe 60), Agnew, Tinkler, Pouton; Creswell, Carruthers. Subs (not used): Reed, Hall.

BOOKED: Tinkler, McMillan.

FULHAM (5-3-2): Taylor; Finnan, Brevett, Symons, Coleman, Albert (Brazier 64); Smith, Hayward, Trollope (Betsy 82); Horsfield (Peschisolido 45), Hayles.

GOALS: Horsfield (40), Hayles (45), Peschisolido (52).

REFEREE: Phil Richards (Preston).