ROTHERHAM United ended their Championship campaign with a share of the spoils against Yorkshire neighbours Leeds United at Elland Road.
The Millers completed their first campaign in England’s second tier for a decade by extending their unbeaten run to four games following the goalless draw in West Yorkshire.
Following their hard-fought victory over Reading in midweek which guaranteed Championship survival, the Millers made two changes to their starting line-up for the trip to Elland Road.
Charlton loanee Lawrie Wilson was handed a rare starting berth in the right-back slot as Jack Hunt missed out because of illness while Scottish international Kirk Broadfoot failed to shrug off a knock sustained in the win over the Royals so Richard Wood was asked to deputise at the heart of the Millers rearguard.
The Millers settled quickly into the clash when Danny Lafferty’s threaded ball saw Matt Derbyshire get on the wrong side of Sol Bamba but the Leeds defender recovered smartly to snuff out the danger.
Minutes later, Danny Ward superbly chested a long punt forward before firing a cross-cum-shot which had Stuart Taylor nervously scurrying across goal as it was deflected behind for a corner before Richard Smallwood’s clipped ball over the top found Derbyshire in the right channel but the ex-Olympiakos striker failed to find Ward, who was unmarked in the box, as his cross was cleared by a retreating defender.
Just past the quarter hour, Lee Frecklington was hauled over by Rodolph Austin in an inviting position but Ward fluffed his lines with the resultant free-kick as he blazed his shot into the home faithful behind the goal.
Minutes later, Leeds were indebted to Samba for throwing his body in the way of Ward’s goalbound shot after Gaetano Berardi’s wayward clearance went into his path before Bamba had Leeds’ first foray of note when he met Luke Murphy’s free-kick but his glancing header failed to trouble Emi Martinez.
Moments later, Steve Morison latched onto Charlie Taylor’s throughball but although he calmly slide the ball under Martinez, his joy was curtailed by an early offside award before Lafferty latched onto Frecklington’s inviting centre at the other end but he couldn’t control his header as it blazed over the bar.
Bamba became the first to see yellow after he tripped Derbyshire in full flow just outside the box and Smallwood almost made the home side pay from the resultant free-kick when he curled a delicate effort which narrowly cleared the home crossbar.
At the other end, home skipper Liam Cooper rose highest from Alex Mowatt’s tantalising free-kick but his clever header was smartly gathered by Martinez before Kari Arnason produced a superb last-ditch tackle to prevent Taylor from shooting goalwards after the visitors were split open by a fine flowing home move.
Minutes later, the Millers almost broke the deadlock when Frecklington’s clever pass paved the way for Ben Pringle to fizz an inviting centre which was inch-perfect for the run of Ward, who struck goalwards but the ball unlikely struck Derbyshire en-route to goal.
With half-time approaching, the Millers had a scare when Austin struck a fantastic effort from distance despite having little backlift which had Martinez flying across goal as it whistled past the upright.
Moments later, Frecklington stung the palms of Taylor with a snap shot following good work from Pringle before the ex-Derby midfielder was in the thick of the action in the next visitors’ attack when his goalbound volley was blocked by Bamba as it was arrowing towards the bottom corner of the goal.
Half-time:- Leeds United 0 Rotherham United 0
Following the restart, Leeds had the first sight of goal when Cooper had a shot blocked before Murphy blazed an effort over from distance moments later.
In the next home attack, Mowatt and Morison combined smartly to give the former a sight of goal but Wilson bravely blocked his goalbound shot before Cooper powered a bullet header straight down the throat of Martinez from the resultant corner.
The home side were looking the most likely and the Millers had Wood to thank for a superb last-ditch tackle to prevent sub Billy Sharp from making an immediate impact from the bench as he looked a certain scorer as he beared down on goal.
Moments later, Arnason hauled down Murphy just outside the box but Mowatt failed to make the Millers’ pay when he curled his free-kick harmlessly over the bar before Sharp screwed an effort wide of the target.
Minutes later, Bamba was on his toes to prevent Jonson Clarke-Harris connecting with Jordan Bowery’s inviting centre before Arnason curled a long-range effort narrowly over the home bar.
With time running out, Austin stung the palms of Martinez with another long-range effort which was parried to safety by the Arsenal loanee before Bamba’s header from Murphy’s corner was smartly gathered by the visitors’ keeper moments later.
In the last action of note, Clarke-Harris fired a rasping free-kick narrowly wide of the target after he was felled on the edge of the box by Bamba.
Teams:- Leeds- S Taylor, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, Berardi (Sharp 56), Byram, Murphy, Austin, Mowatt (White 71), C Taylor, Morison (Montenegro 82). Unused:- Cairns, Phillips, Ngoyi, Sloth.
Rotherham- Martinez, Wilson, Morgan, Wood, Lafferty, Arnason, Smallwood, Frecklington (Green 72), Pringle, Ward (Bowery 53), Derbyshire (Clarke-Harris 61). Unused:- Collin, Milsom, Hammill, Newton.
Referee:- Andy D’Urso