Andy Burgess gave as classy a midfield performance as any player has given since Oxford United moved to their new stadium five years ago to help Jim Smith's men move further clear at the top.

With this victory, they stretched their lead at the head of the Nationwide Conference to eight points, and although they don't want to count their chickens just yet, more and more of their rivals, if not exactly giving up the ghost on the title, are feeling more and more inferior by the week.

Burgess had produced a similarly majestic display of skill and quality passing against Manchester United's star-studded side in a pre-season, but it takes something else to do it in the more competitive environment of a league battle when opponents are trying to chop you to the ground.

In truth, no-one got close. With deft flicks of the ball, quick turns, and admirable imagination in his passes, he made mugs of York players who tried in turn to stifle him.

When he went off two minutes before the end, to give Yemi Odubade a run-out, it was to a rousing ovation.

Thanks to a goal from Rob Duffy on 14 minutes, and a well-deserved strike from Burgess midway through the second half that Oxford chalked up win No 10 out of 12 matches, and their third on the bounce.

They might have scored more, but then York also had excellent chances and were only prevented from getting on the scoresheet by a fine showing from Billy Turley, parrying away two efforts and getting solidly behind everything else that came his way.

Jim Smith had been able to bring back Burgess from illness and skipper Phil Gilchrist from his Achilles injury.

The Minstermen made the early running. Manny Panther had the game's first real opportunity, but headed over the bar from 12 yards from Lewis McMahon's chip.

United had just started to get their game going when they opened the scoring from a sweet move, Duffy bagging his sixth goal in eight games.

The striker has missed four matches through injury this season so he might well have been in double figures but for that lay-off.

Duffy was picked out beautifully by Carl Pettefer, who had been spotted by Burgess making a run inside York centre back David McGurk.

Pettefer got past his man and then laid on a simple square pass for a chance that Duffy could hardly miss.The U's should really have gone two up, but Eddie Anaclet, set free by Burgess, overran the ball after taking it past goalkeeper Tom Evans.

The visitors, who had won four of their previous five away games, created good half-chances.Steve Bowey scooped a left-footed shot over from the edge of the box after managing to dig the ball out from under his feet, and Bowey, arriving unmarked at the far post, then sliced a half-volley shot wide from McMahon's cross.

Six minutes before the break, though, York really should have equalised, and were only denied by a fine Turley save.

After Barry Quinn's poor pass from the back, Craig Farrell produced a slick flick to give Clayton Donaldson a free run on goal.

The former Hull striker has been deadly most of the season, but Turley parried his angled shot for a corner.

Burgess produced a sublime piece of skill three minutes into the second half with a Johann Cruyff-like turn to beat Darren Craddock and then crossed beyond keeper Evans. Steve Basham, falling at the time, blazed the loose ball over the bar with his left foot.

In front of the Conference's biggest gate of the season, York pressed hard to get back on level terms and Turley again came to United's rescue blocking Donaldson, who had nipped in between Chris Willmott and the keeper.

Steve Bowey was kicking himself for not making it 1-1 when he arrived at the back stick on the blindside of Eddie Anaclet for a free header and Turley palmed to safety. United then went just as close at the other end when Duffy, coming in just behind Eddie Hutchinson, headed Rufus Brevett's cross a foot over the crossbar.

In the 67th minute, the U's made the points safe with a second goal.

Basham wriggled free from Danny Parslow's challenge with a clever turn, and when he delivered a perfect square pass, Burgess shot right-footed, first -time, past the diving Evans.

That second goal knocked the stuffing out of York and they didn't have the same spring in their step.

Duffy almost got his second with an 18-yard shot after good work by Eddie Hutchinson, but Evans pushed it away for a corner.The York keeper showed great sportsmanship in coming to Duffy's aid when the striker went down to bad cramp, and the home supportrers warmly applauded him for it.

At the other end, Turley got down smartly to save a low drive from Panther to complete a near-perfect afternoon for Oxford United chairman Nick Merry on his 45th birthday.

A win, a good performance, no injuries and no bookings.

No wonder the fans couldn't stop singing.