United crash at the City Ground...
NOTTINGHAM FOREST 4 (Sharp pen 44, 55, Austin OG 57, Blackstock 61), LEEDS UNITED 2 (Green 12, Somma 90)
Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins (c), Halford, Cohen, Guedioura, Majewski (Moussi 70), Reid (Lansbury 83), Blackstock, Sharp (Cox 77). Subs: Gillett, Darlow, Harding, McGugan.
United: Kenny, Byram (McCormack 79), Tate, Lees, Drury, Green, Brown, Austin (Pearce 66), Thomas, Becchio, Diouf (Somma 65). Subs: Ashdown, Varney, Norris, White.
Referee: T Bates
Att: 26,670 (3,235 Leeds)
United manager Neil Warnock made three changes to the side which beat Middlesbrough at the weekend with Rodolph Austin, Michael Brown, and Adam Drury all coming into the starting line-up, Brown replaced Michael Tonge, whose loan spell has ended, Drury came in for the injured Lee Peltier, and Austin returned from injury to replace David Norris.
But it was one of United''s current men in form Paul Green who ensured the perfect start. United were enjoying the best spell so far in the 12th minute and after Jerome Thomas sent over a cross for Green, Luciano Becchio and El-Hadji Diouf made nuisances of themselves which allowed Green to stab the ball home from close range.
United again looked strong during the opening exchanges of the contest, and looked comfortable on the ball. Brown and Austin were commanding in the middle, Thomas and Green were looking to advance, and the movement of Diouf was giving the home side plenty to think about.
Paddy Kenny wasn't seriously called into action until the half-hour mark when he got down well to ensure an Elliott Ward flick from a free-kick went wide of the mark. Brown had been responsible for some early biting challenges in the game and he became the first yellow card on 33 minutes.
Forest started to take the initiative more as the game headed towards half-time, but just as against Boro on Saturday, United got men behind the ball and made decisive blocks and challenges. The hosts also had a couple of penalty shouts, the first for a handball and the second for a suggested tug by Alan Tate.
But Tom Lees was adjudged to have committed a foul moments before the break, referee Tony Bates pointing to the spot, and Billy Sharp stepped up to send Paddy Kenny the wrong way to level just a minute before half-time.
And, right on the stroke of the whistle, Forest were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box and Kenny again had to make the save to ensure the ball was safely pushed wide of the mark.
The hosts also started the second period on the front foot and Dexter Blackstock headed a good chance over the bar five minutes after the re-start. And the home side went in front on 55 minutes when Sharp latched onto a through ball and rounded Kenny before slotting the ball home.
Two minutes later it was 3-1 to the home side when Austin turned a cross beyond Kenny. And worse was to follow as the clock ticked past the hour mark, Dexter Blackstock getting up well to plant home another cross past the United keeper to make it 4-1.
That was four goals conceded in a 16-minute period by United and the quick-fire rout effectively ended the game as a contest with almost half an hour still left on the clock. Warnock made two changes in the aftermath of the avalanche, Diouf and Austin were both withdrawn with Davide Somma and Jason Pearce being handed the final 25 minutes of the game.
United did huff and puff in the closing stages, a couple of shots were blocked, but Forest were still the more incisive and substitute Simon Cox lifted a chip over the bar after working himself an opening on goal. Kenny also made a terrific save during the closing stages from Alan Hutton, who tried his luck from distance.
There was one late plus for Leeds, though, when in the final minute of normal time, after good work by Ross McCormack, Somma got on the end of a cross to stab the ball home from close range for his first goal in over 18 months.