clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Leeds United 4 - 0 Birmingham City: United Ease to Victory with Stunning Performance

A sublime display from Brian McDermott's men saw them thump Birmingham City 4-0 in what was one of the best performances for many years.

Nigel Roddis

There's no denying it - yesterday I made my way to Elland Road rather unfazed about the game. I wasn't that up for it - after all it was a Sunday and against Birmingham City who have done their best in the past to be a bogey team.

My mood lightened as I heard rumours of the formation and the change in approach that McDermott decided to go with. Scott Wootton came back into the team as part of a 5-3-2 formation, with Tom Lees and Jason Pearce joining him at the back. Luke Murphy joined Rodolph Austin and Alex Mowatt in midfield, with Matt Smith starting up front with Ross McCormack.

Sam Byram also came back into the side at right wing-back and I felt confident that this formation would have a positive impact on the game. United started on fire and were playing some lovely one-touch football to get the ball from the back up to the top two.

McCormack had a brilliant chance inside the first ten minutes when he ran through on goal thanks to a terrible clearance from the Birmingham defence but the Scot wasted the glorious opportunity and blasted the ball straight at Darren Randolph.

With Leeds piling on the pressure, Birmingham were forced to clear their lines and should have gone one behind but Pearce fired his header over from close range.

McCormack had another chance minutes later when Austin's inch-perfect pass found the forward but with the ball always going wide of the goal, McCormack did well to get his shot on target.

Despite the possession firmly in Leeds' favour, the Blues had a great chance when Chris Burke went through on goal but he dragged his shot wide of Paddy Kenny's far post. Leeds responded immediately after Randolph controlled the ball but Austin intercepted the ball and passed to McCormack who chipped the ball into an empty net.

The visitors bounced back immediately when Lee Novak fired the ball home, but the linesmen on the far side near the East Stand ruled him offside and the Elland Road crowd jeered in relief. The game was starting to open up with Birmingham enjoying more possession on the edge of the box, but Leeds doubled their lead in the 33rd minute.

Austin's pinpoint ball to McCormack on the left wing was met by applause as the Jamaican and Smith charged into the box. McCormack did brilliantly to hold the ball up, and his curling cross glided into the path of Austin who nodded into the bottom of the net.

Before the fans could grab their breath, Smith added another on the stroke of half-time. His flick-on header was met by McCormack and his left-footed effort was saved by Randolph but the ball fell to Smith who placed the ball into the bottom corner.

The second-half was as expected slightly different in terms of Leeds' dominance. Austin could have put the game to bed when he charged forward and was one-on-one with Randolph but the Birmingham keeper saved well with his legs.

At the other end, Lees was on hand to head the ball over the bar as Birmingham looked to get themselves back into the contest. David Murphy then went close with a free-kick which clipped the post, with Kenny beaten.

Smith then went close with a header after a brilliant cross but just as the ball looked to be flying into the top corner, Randolph pulled off a spectacular save. But just after his miss Smith sealed the win after converting a fine move. Mowatt won the ball in his own half before passing the ball to McCormack who ran to the edge of the box, before cutting back to Mowatt.

In a moment of sheer class, the youngster wrapped his left foot around the ball to find Smith who pulled away from his man to head the ball into the back of an empty net to leave fans purring at the football on display.

Leeds controlled the rest of the game and saw it out much to the delight of the crowd and McDermott. The performance came as a shock, and you'd be very lucky to see another performance as close for the rest of the season. Everything clicked into place, the midfield battled for every ball, the defence were calm and the forwards caused chaos.

McDermott is a calming influence and he's right we can't get too carried away. For now we move onto the next game and try and string a couple of results together. Birmingham weren't exactly the hardest nut to crack and on another day against a better team we may have found it harder.

But what matters is the players responded in the best possible manner, the football was sensational at times and every single fan in white left the game with a smile on their face.

Bring on Huddersfield!