Saturday, 15 January 2011

Match Report Leeds United 4 Scunthorpe 0

United manager Simon Grayson made one change from the side which drew with Arsenal last weekend - George McCartney returning in place of Ben Parker - while Scunthorpe boss Ian Baraclough made wholesale changes from his Iron side which lost to Everton in the FA Cup third round.Scunthorpe's away record, in terms of victories, is one of the best in the division, but it was visiting keeper Joe Murphy who had to make the first save when a Robert Snodgrass shot took a deflection.
It was a low key opening to the game, but Leeds were in front inside 16 minutes. Sanchez Watt shrugged off a Scunthorpe defender on the edge of the box before delivering a strike too powerful for Murphy to keep out to fire Leeds ahead.
And it was 2-0 within four minutes. Watt won the ball in midfield, Snodgrass picked out Max Gradel, and Gradel showed great footwork in rounding the goalkeeper to convert.
The crowd were on their feet again moments before the half-hour. Snodgrass was again involved on the edge of the box, the ball broke to Bradley Johnson, and he delivered another unstoppable left foot shot to make it 3-0.
United continued to dominate as the contest headed towards half-time. Leeds were keeping possession neatly in the midfield and always looked a threat without appearing to move out of first gear.
Chances were carefully constructed, and Murphy spread himself well to deny Watt after some great work by Gradel.
The visitors finally fashioned out an opening four minutes before the break when Martyn Woolford crossed from the left and Michael Collins lifted his shot high and wide.
In the first minute of stoppage time a Snodgrass cross found its way into the arms of Murphy, but there was nothing else in the way of chances before the break.
United started the second period on the front foot, and a deep cross almost led to Sanchez Watt making it four inside the opening 60 seconds.
Watt also forced Murphy into making another good save as Leeds steamed straight back into the visitors with even more purpose.
Billy Paynter was half-time replacement for Luciano Becchio, who picked up a knock during the opening period, and he displayed some good hold up play when Leeds threatened again.
Moments before the hour, George McCartney showed good skill in creating an opening which Johnson narrowly failed to connect with.
Given United's superiority over the first hour or so, the game was merely edging towards the inevitable outcome during the second half.
On 68 minutes, Grayson introduced Ross McCormack in place of Snodgrass and his first touch was to cushion the ball back to Gradel, whose lethal strike crashed against a defender before going to safety.
Scunthorpe did have an opportunity on 73 minutes when Jonathan Forte broke after a mistake in midfield, but his finish grazed the outside of the post.
At the right end, McCormack was denied by a great challenge from Michael Raynes as he found himself in a good position.
With nine minutes left on the clock, Grayson made his final change, Davide Somma entering the fray in place of Watt.
The visitors introduction of Forte had given them a little more life and he went close again when he had shot deflected to safety.
But if anyone was going to score, Leeds always looked the most likely and Paynter was denied a first goal for the club when his low shot smashed against McCormack when the visiting keeper was beaten.
Gradel also teed up Somma, but the striker couldn't apply the finishing touch and at the other end Raynes headed over from a corner.
There was time for a fourth goal, though, and it was Somma who put the seal on the win. The South African international was released by Gradel and he tucked the ball home with aplomb.
Four minutes of added time only looked like prolonging what was already a long afternoon for Scunthorpe, and an offside flag was raised after Somma weaved his way down the left before teeing up Gradel.
The final whistle soon sounded on what was a comprehensive win for Leeds to keep up the pressure in the Championship race.

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