Heartbreak for City

Saturday 26 January 2002

In what could well be the last FA Cup game to be held at Bootham Crescent, a fighting York City succumbed to goals from Steed Malbranque and Steve Marlet as Fulham booked their place in the fifth round with a 2-0 win.

Malbranque struck his seventh goal for the club on 26 minutes and Marlet finished it five minutes from time to strike right at the heart of the cash-strapped Third Division side, which faces extinction unless it can resolve debts of around £4.5 million.

Terry Dolan's side huffed and puffed all match but the class of Jean Tigana's Premiership outfit proved just too much for the Minstermen.

York struggled early on against the pace of Louis Saha and the Frenchman was released by John Collins in just the 10th minute and his cross induced panic into the home penalty area before Matt Hocking cleared for a corner.

But Lee Bullock enjoyed the best chance of the half for York when he connected beautifully with Graham Potter's free-kick and sent his header rocketing just over the bar.

Alan Fettis produced two stunning saves to deny Steve Marlet, the first a block with his body and then a screamer to prevent the Frenchman's header from sailing into the top corner.

Potter was looking the man most likely to cause Fulham a scare with some fine darting runs but the Cottagers defence held firm.

Fulham's pressure paid off on the half hour when a sublime bit of footwork from Saha robbed Bullock of the ball.

His finely timed pass found Malbranque in the clear and he clipped over the advancing Fettis to give the Londoners the lead.

Fulham continued to look utterly assured after the break with Malbranque and Marlet both testing Fettis.

But they could never drop their guard and when Edwin van der Sar horrendously sliced a clearance, Lee Nogan pulled it onto his right foot but his chance had gone when an initial left-foot strike may have been the option.

As the Bootham Crescent pitch started to really clog up, York remained capable of an equaliser with Michael Proctor, on loan from Sunderland, always threatening in attack.

Gary Hobson and Chris Brass both went close in a frenetic finale, Brass going close with a head which van der Sar did well to clear.

Marlet then settled it when he was sent clear and he fired past Fettis from a narrow angle to double the Cottagers' lead.

But it would be the last chance for the Third Division side with Fulham's resistance, typified by an excellent display from Steve Finnan, holding firm.