Smith heads Leeds United on way to win at Birmingham

Matt Smith.

Matt Smith.

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Three second half goals gave Leeds United their second successive away win and plunged opponents Birmingham City deeper into relegation trouble.

Matt Smith and Danny Pugh struck twice in quick succession round the hour mark and an own goal by Paul Caddis put Brian McDermott’s men in charge.

Home substitute Federico Macheda did pull a goal back, but it was just a consolation for a Birmingham side that has now gone a remarkable 17 games without victory at their St Andrew’s ground.

McDermott made two changes to the Leeds team beaten at home by Nottingham Forest with Danny Pugh in for the injured Stephen Warnock at left-back and Matt Smith brought back in up front instead of the still goalless Noel Hunt.

Birmingham needed the points more, however, and started the better with Lee Novak shooting wide and Tom Adeyemi hitting two efforts over.

United finally settled into the game, but saw a good chance missed when Ross McCormack put Michael Tonge through only for the midfielder’s shot to be well saved by Darren Randolph.

It was more out of the blue when they took the lead 13 minutes into the second half as substitute midfielder Alex Mowatt, on for Luke Murphy, combined with Tonge to set up a chance for tall striker Smith to head home.

Within two minutes they doubled the lead when Pugh found himself in space to shoot home from inside Birmingham area.

Leeds were now in control and their hosts rarely threatened to hit back before it became 3-0 on 78 minutes as McCormack broke clear and looked to find strike partner Smith. Birmingham defender Paul Caddis got to the ball first only to turn the ball into his own net for an own goal.

Michael Brown almost made it even worse for the home team when his chip went narrowly over.

Birmingham did manage a goal seven minutes from time as Manchester United loanee Macheda smashed the ball in and Nikola Zigic missed a chance shortly after, but it was all too little, too late for the side now third from bottom in the Sky Bet Championship.

The result lifted Leeds up to 15th place and interestingly they were watched by Italian former player Benito Carbone, who could be in line for a coaching role at Elland Road.

Match facts

Birmingham City 1

(Macheda 83)

Leeds United 3

(Smith 58, Pugh 60, Caddis og 78)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sky Bet Championship

Att: 19,861

Birmingham: Randolph, Caddis, Spector, Thorpe, Hancox, Adeyemi, Reilly (Macheda 61), Huws, Burke, Zigic, Novak (Allan 69).

Leeds: Butland, Wootton, Lees, Pearce, Pugh, Murphy (Mowatt 57), Brown, Tonge, Austin, McCormack, Smith (Hunt 79).

Referee: G Eltringham.