Sheffield United continued their impressive run at Bramall Lane by dispatching Leyton Orient 6-0 in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Harry Chapman scored a hat-trick, with Chris Basham, Stephan Scougall and Kieron Freeman adding their names to the score-sheet.
The drubbing was Orient’s fifth defeat in their last six games, the last thing that manager Alberto Cavasin needed to boost the team’s confidence.
United have now just lost one game at home since August 20, and will be confident of sustaining their impressive results.
Chris Wilder made three changes before kick off as 18-year-old Aaron Ramsdale made his debut in goal, while Jack O’Connell came in for the ineligible Ethan Ebanks-Landell. United’s top scorer Billy Sharp, who had scored five goals in his last three games, was replaced by Chapman.
For Orient, Cavasin had brought in Alan Dunne for Jans Janse at the back, with Jay Simpson replacing Jordan Bowery after their defeat to Crewe Alexandra last Saturday.
After an impeccably observed minute’s silence for Armistice Day it was the O’s who had the first chance of the game, Sandro Semedo firing over from 25 yards after a Gavin Massey cross was cleared from the right.
The away side pressure increased as Ollie Palmer broke free of the Blades defence, only to be denied by a last-ditch Paul Coutts tackle, closing down the angle so Ramsdale could make an easy save.
United’s impressive response, probing Orient’s defence, resulted in Daniel Lafferty’s shot grazing the top of the crossbar.
As Mark Duffy continued to cut in from the left, he became a nightmare for O’s defenders, forcing a smart save from O’s keeper Alex Cisak and was unlucky to see a shot cleared off the line.
The home side’s dominance told as the resulting cleared corner led to the opener, Chris Basham heading in at the back post. After a promising first five minutes from the away side they had dropped too deep and invited pressure on themselves.
By the half hour mark Orient were fortunate to just be one goal down and an injury to Ollie Palmer, replaced by Bowery, compounded their misery.
And just three minutes later the Blades’ found themselves two goals to the good. Duffy’s free-kick looked to be wasteful but a ricochet in the box fell the way for Scougall to score his third goal in his last three home appearances.
Orient could not cope with home side’s intensity as Chapman’s cross was parried by Cisak, allowing Freeman to head into the empty net at the back post.
After the break United’s pressure continued from the off, even with Coalan Lavery replacing goal-scorer Scougall. A fine save from Cisak to deny Duffy gave the indication to the 319 O’s fans it would be a long second half.
And very quickly United scored their fourth. A fantastic finish from Chapman, bursting past three players to place the ball in the opposite corner, emphasised the home side’s domination.
With a four-goal cushion, Wilder rested Duffy, with youngster David Brooks given a chance to impress the manager.
In their sky blue kit the O’s looked lost at a sea. A myriad of stops from Cisak to deny Brooks kept the score-line at 4-0, but it was the youngster’s cross which led to the home side’s fifth of the afternoon. A wicked delivery from the right was met at the back post by Chapman.
Paul McCallum replaced Simpson for the away side, while another youth prospect, Ben Whiteman, came on for captain Coutts for the Blades.
As the heavens opened, Orient occurred another injury as Tom Parkes was forced off, with Jans Janse coming on.
By the 90th minute the O’s capitulation reached new heights when Dunne’s pass to Cisak was too short, allowing Chapman to lob the keeper and complete his hat-trick.
For the 6099 fans inside the stadium, it was match of great gulf in quality. Orient again, will go back to the drawing board while United will be quietly confident of a long cup run.