HEAD coach Gary Thornton was quick to dedicate York City Knights' stunning 40-0 thrashing of arch-rivals Hunslet to the club's diehard fans.

Thornton's men scored 20 points in each half without reply to leapfrog their fiercest foes at the top of the Championship One table and lay down a notable marker for the end-of-season promotion play-offs.

Having previously waited almost five years and ten games to beat them, this result completed a 2014 double over the title favourites, and it was also the largest margin of victory either club have enjoyed in their 24 meetings since the York outfit re-formed as the Knights in 2003.

"When we get on top, we get some terrific lift from over there," said Thornton, nodding towards the Popular Stand.

"Through thick and thin they turn up and make some noise. Those are the diehards, and a lot of them go away from home as well. Same goes for the supporters in the Main Stand. It's nice to put on a performance like that so they can go home happy.

"It's great to see the lads go over singing and cheering with them at the end of the game.

"We're a small club and we have to engender that community and that spirit."

The attendance was again below four figures but was the biggest crowd this season in Championship One. When asked about the financial situation at the club down in this division, Thornton said it was his job to "make sure the product on the pitch is right".

"We need people to come and watch," he said. "Hopefully they have had a good day. We want people to come and watch a successful side and get behind us."

"It's great to be top of the league but it all boils down to what happens in one match - the grand final."

The Knights went into the game on the back of a painful one-point defeat at third-placed Oldham plus unconvincing wins over expansion clubs, whereas Hunslet had been racking up the points since their home loss to York in March. But Thornton insisted his side had been confident of victory.

“We were building up to this one,” he said. “We haven’t played well against Hemel and Oxford at home but we were building up to this. We had a plan in mind and that plan came together fantastically. The game plan worked and that is down to the players who executed it superbly.

“We’ve taken a bit of flak recently but that showed what we are about.”

He added: “We thought we could beat them in the middle, with big Brad Brennan in there and bringing Colton Roche in this week. We got some real good metres coming out of our exit area. We won that battle, and our pivots were excellent - Ben Reynolds was superb, Pat Smith was superb and Jonny Presley was excellent.

"The forwards got us going and the pivots and outside backs finished things off for us.

"I challenged our forwards, 'If you can get on top, we have the boys to finish off some moves.' It was about the pack getting dominant - I don't think we gave Hunslet a sniff.”

Asked whom his star man on the day was, Thornton replied: "With performances like that, it's difficult to make any one player man of the match. From one to 17 we were absolutely outstanding and every one of them could have got it.

"Ed Smith and Ryan Mallinder did some great work. Hunslet had John Oakes and Brooke Broughton out there (in the second row) so those two had to muscle up and they did that - they were brilliant throughout.

"Jack Lee and Jack Aldous again were excellent. Jonny Presley came in and did very well. James Morland was excellent. Every one of them played really well."

Reynolds got the nod for The Press accolade, after capping his display with a try, to add to his six goals from eight attempts. His two misses weren't far off-target either, with one hitting a post.

Given goal misses from Reynolds and James Haynes had cost York victory at Oldham, Thornton had to field questions about this week's success rate.

"I'm not even going there," he replied. "It was a one-off last week. Ben is a regular goal-kicker and he just had a bad day. I'm putting that one to bed once and for all."