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FIVE STAR UNITED DOWN THE TERRIERS

McCormack hits a hat-trick in Huddersfield demolition...

Published 01 February 2014 at 04:00

Mccormack Third Vs Huddersfield

UNITED 5 (McCormack 45+2, 62, 73, Kebe 50, Mowatt 82), HUDDERSFIELD 1 (Ward 25).

United: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Murphy, Austin (Brown 90), Mowatt (Tonge 87), Stewart, Kebe, McCormack. Subs. Cairns, Peltier, Wootton, Poleon, Hunt.

Huddersfield: Smithies, Woods, Dixon (Lolley 69), Gobern (Scannell 61), Ward, Clayton, Wallace, Smith, Gerrard, Wells (Paterson 75). Subs. Bennett, Clarke, Southern, Holmes.

Referee: G Salisbury.

Booked: Austin (Leeds), Gerrard (Huddersfield).

Att: 31,103

There was one change to the side that faced off against Ipswich Town in midweek with Luke Murphy coming in from the start for Michael Brown. Caretaker boss Nigel Gibbs was without the services of Matt Smith as the United striker served the final match of his suspension.

In true Yorkshire derby fashion the game started with a high tempo. The first chance of the match came in the opening five minutes after superb build-up play from Ross McCormack, Jimmy Kebe and Rudy Austin. Austin played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Cameron Stewart but the winger's shot went wide of the post.

With the quarter-hour mark approaching United were on the attack once again, and after a defence splitting pass from Luke Murphy McCormack was unleashed. The striker then played the ball across the penalty area but the cross was just inches too high for Stewart to connect. Moments later the away side drove forward and it took a great last-ditch Sam Byram tackle to prevent Danny Ward striking for goal.

United were given a warning sign midway through the half when Oliver Norwood picked the ball up 20-yards out from the goal. The midfielder shot for goal, Paddy Kenny looked to have the strike covered but the ball rebounded back off the post. The away side kept coming at United and in a matter of minutes Byram intercepted a certain goalscoring pass and they also hit the side netting.

But on 25 minutes the away side took the lead when Ward was alone at the back post. He was found with a looping pass and he struck for goal to give his side the lead.

Following the games opening goal the away side continued to look dangerous going forward with an adventurous overhead kick needed to be cleared off the line as the 30-mark past.

United responded well to the away side's pressure and had a great chance to level the contest with five first half minutes remaining. The battling Austin made a crossing position for himself and found McCormack in the box, the Scot rose well but his headed effort missed the target.

As the half went into added time there were goalscoring chances for both sides. First, Nakhi Wells went through on goal but his poked effort went wide of Kenny's post after great pressure from the United stopper. Then, McCormack struck for goal from just outside the box but his attempt went wide of the mark.

But the striker made no mistake as he levelled the tie seconds before the interval. Following a scramble in the penalty area the striker reacted the quickest and nicked the ball to slam it into the back of the net.

Within five second half minutes United had turned the game on its head and had taken the lead. Following a good start to the half United came forward and a clever back-heel from McCormack led to some brilliance from Kebe. The winger took the ball round one defender and smashed the ball past Alex Smithies, the keeper had no chance with Kebe's strike.

Moments later United had a half chance to go further ahead but McCormack's cross just evaded the onrushing Stewart. The away side had a chance of their own minutes later when Wells was found in the box, but the striker's air-shot get Kenny no trouble.

Huddersfield saw another chance go begging as the hour mark approached when, their goalscorer Ward put a shot wide from just eight yards out. Moments later Wells put one over the bar after getting into a good shooting position.

The away side were made to pay for their missed chances in the 62nd minute when United got their third of the afternoon. Austin broke forward with a powerful run and played in Byram down the right hand side. The full-back played a perfect ball across the area cutting out the Huddersfield defender and McCormack was there to turn the ball home.

United were close to getting their fourth moments later but Austin's shot brought a great save from Smithies to turn the ball round his post.

But, United didn't need to wait to much longer for their fourth when McCormack completed his hat-trick on 73 minutes. United's continued pressure told on Huddersfield and Stewart's trickery and pace created the chance. The winger beat his marked, got into the box and crossed to the back post where McCormack was waiting and he drilled the ball past Smithies to make it 4-1.

United weren't finised there though, and nine minutes later there was a special moment inside Elland Road for Alex Mowatt. The young midfield kept his composure to lob Smithies at the Kop end to score his first senior goal for the club.

With five minutes remaining and with nothing to lose the away side broke. Former United midfielder Adam Clayton struck for goal and his deflected effort bounced back of the crossbar.

Clayton's effort didn't dampen the mood inside Elland Road as United went on to take the spoils with a 5-1 victory.