SHEFFIELD United overpowered Notts County in the first half to set up a comfortable victory at Meadow Lane.
First half goals by Stephen Quinn, Ched Evans and Matthew Lowton eased the Blades into a 4-0 lead and kept the pressure on League One leaders Charlton.
Notts County made four changes to the team that had lost against Sheffield Wednesday with Liam Chilvers, Damion Stewart, Gavin Mahon and Jon Harley making way for Mike Edwards, Krystian Pearce, Ben Burgess and Lloyd Sam.
United brought back Kevin McDonald after missing seven matches with a hamstring injury and Richard Cresswell for Will Hoskins and Chris Porter.
Still smarting from their home defeat by Wednesday the Magpies began positively with crosses by Alan Sheehan, Alan Judge and Sam testing the Blades backline.
As he has been all season Evans was looking United’s most likely player to cause danger and he forced Pearce into a good block and then Edwards into a clearance as the match reached the 15 minute mark.
United were looking dangerous and on 16 minutes Quinn opened the scoring from just inside the area as he got on the end of a Lee Williamson pass.
And it was that man Evans who doubled the Blades advantage five minutes later who scored from close range after good work by Richard Cresswell.
United were rampant by now and Lowton made it three on 27 minutes as he rifled home from outside the area.
The chances continued to fall for the Blades and it was only a matter of time before they scored again. This time, on the stroke of 45 minutes, it was Neill Collins who headed home from a Quinn cross.
It was always unlikely that United would throw away a four goal lead and they were in such control in the early stages of the second half that County boss Keith Curle took off Jonathan Forte and Ben Burgess to be replaced by Lee Hughes and Dele Adebola.
Danny Wilson had the luxury of withdrawing McDonald just after the hour for Marcus Williams.
County kept battling and got one back after 77 minutes through Alan Judge.
Any hopes of a dramatic comeback for the hosts were extinguished when Neal Bishop received his second yellow card for a foul on Quinn.
Inevitably United added a fifth when Williamson fired into the top corner to complete and excellent night’s work for Wilson’s team.
But it was the Magpies who had the last word as Julian Kelly scored in the first minute of injury time.
NOTTS COUNTY: Nelson, Sheehan, Edwards, Pearce, Freeman, Bishop, J Hughes, Judge, Sam, Forte, Burgess. Subs: Kelly, Bencherif, Mahon, L Hughes, Adebola.
BLADES: Simonsen, Lowton, Collins, Maguire, Hill, Doyle, Williamson, McDonald, Quinn, Evans, Cresswell. Subs: Howard, Egan, Williams, Hoskins
Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyneside)