Four goal haul for United...

UNITED 4 (McCormack 18, Austin 33, Smith 45, 74), BIRMINGHAM 0.

United: Kenny, Lees, Wootton, Pearce, Byram, Warnock, Mowatt, Austin (Brown 90), Murphy, McCormack, Smith. Subs. Cairns, Peltier, Pugh, Tonge, Varney, Poleon.

Birmingham: Randolph, Murphy, Robinson, Bartley, Burn (Shinnie 46), Burke, Lingard, Novak (Zigic 46), Elliott, Lee, Caddis. Subs. Lovenkrands, Doyle, Reilly, Ferguson, Gray.

Referee: P Tierney

Booked: Warnock (Leeds), Bartley (Birmingham).

Att: 21,301

For the return to action following the international break United manager Brian McDermott made a number of changes to his starting line-up. The changes saw Luke Murphy, Scott Wootton, Matt Smith and Sam Byram come back into the side.

The game against Birmingham also saw a change to the system with Brian McDermott playing three centre halves with Byram and Stephen Warnock adding to United's attacking options as the wing-backs.

Both sides went into the international break on the back of league defeats but it was United who looked the more likely in the opening minutes of the game. United wide man Byram was sent down the right hand side by Rudy Austin and only a good block prevented an attempt on goal.

With just eight minutes gone United had a great chance to take the lead. Warnock curled a cross for the advancing Ross McCormack and the Birmingham clearance left the Scot through on goal. Darren Randolph in the Birmingham goal made himself look big and saved McCormack's shot.

Following McCormack's chance United put numberous balls into the box but the away defence managed to clear their advances. Jason Pearce had United's best chance, when from a corner the defender headed just over while under pressure.

Moments later the away goal was under threat once again from a McCormack strike. Austin played the ball perfectly into his path but Randolph was on hand again to thwart the striker with a good save.

The away side's first real chance of the afternoon came after 15 minutes when Chris Burke was put through to the right of the goal but his shot didn't trouble Paddy Kenny and went wide of the mark.

In the 18th minute United's pressure told when at the third time of asking McCormack gave his team the lead. United skipper Austin created the goal by disposessing Randolph, but as the keeper left his area to win the ball back it was played to the feet of McCormack. The striker had the pressence of mind to coolly curl the ball home and give United a deserved lead.

Just minutes after the opening goal the away side had the ball in the back of the net but the effort was ruled out as Lee Novak was seen to be in an off side position.

As the the half hour mark was approaching the away side were gifted a chance on the United goal after a poor clearance. It was Burke that had the attempt on goal but once again his shot went wide of the right hand post.

Although Birmingham were begining to have possesion in the United half it was the home side that doubled their lead on 33 minutes. Following great work by McCormack on the left hand side the Scot created an opening to cross for Austin, who made no mistake in front of goal and headed the ball into the back of the net.

With half time approaching the away side offered very little going forward and it was United who continued to attack.

And right on the stroke of half time United added another goal through the impressive Smith. The big forward had been a handful throughout the first period and when the ball travelled into his path after a McCormack shot was saved, he played the ball perfectly past Randolph to give United a three goal lead at the interval.

At the start of the second half Birmingham City manager Lee Clark made two changes to his side. He introduced Nikola Zigic and Andrew Shinnie in place of Lee Novak and Dan Burn. Shinnie almost made an instant impact but the attacker's strike from just outside the box went wide.

On the hour mark United had a golden chance to put the game beyond the away side. McCormack played Austin through on goal with a superb pass but the midfielder found the legs of Randolph with his strike.

Moments later the away side were close to pulling on back but a brilliant goal-line clearance from Tom Lees kept United's lead at three goals.

The away side finally called Kenny into action in the 65th minute as he made his first save of the game. Birmingham substitute Zigic had the ball on the edge of the box but his shot was turned over the bar brilliantly by the United keeper.

United's goal continued to come under threat just minutes later as David Murphy struck a sweet free-kick but his effort hit Kenny's post.

As the clock struck 70 minutes the second half burst into life with chances coming at both ends in just a matter of minutes. Burke saw another effort cleared of the line and Randolph pulled out an unbelievable save from Smith.

But minutes later Smith wasn't to be denied again as the striker doubled his goals for the afternoon to make it 4-0. Austin and Alex Mowatt combined superbly and the 18-year-old's pin-point cross was met by Smith whose thunderous header beat Randolph.

The fourth goal really ended the tie as a contest and the remaining quarter of an hour past by with United in control of the game.