REPORT | Leeds United 3 v 0 Rotherham
A BRACE from New Zealander Chris Wood and a Kyle Bartley header ensured Rotherham United made the short hop down the M1 empty-handed as Leeds United ran out victors at Elland Road.
The Millers could count themselves unfortunate not to have taken an interval lead when Tom Adeyemi smashed a close range shot against the post before Izzy Brown blazed an effort over from a promising position.
Paul Warne’s men were made to pay, just minutes into the half, when Bartley headed home before Wood sealed the deal with two well-taken strikes.
Following their narrow defeat at the hands of Burton Albion last time out, the Millers made just one change to their starting line-up for the visit to Garry Monk’s high-flying outfit.
Scottish international Kirk Broadfoot was handed his first start since the opening day of the season following back surgery as he partnered Aïmen Belaïd at the heart of the Rotherham rearguard.
Richard Wood had to settle for a place amongst the Millers substitutes as Stephen Kelly was omitted from the visitors’ squad.
The Millers came within a coat of paint of opening the scoring in the early minutes when Brown’s mazy run was illegally halted by Liam Bridcutt on the edge of the box.
From the resultant free-kick, Anthony Forde curled an effort around the Leeds wall which brought a smart save from Robert Green, but the ball fell invitingly for the on-rushing Adeyemi, who smashed a point-blank effort against the foot of the post.
At the other end, Belaïd had to be on his toes to prevent Wood heading goalwards before both Joe Newell and Lee Frecklington had shots blocked by retreating Leeds defenders’, in the next phase of play.
Moments later, Kemar Roofe beat the Rotherham offside trap before trying his luck with a dipping effort from an acute angle, which was deflected narrowly over the visitors’ bar before good work by Souleymane Doukara presented Hernandez with the opportunity to strike a low effort from just outside the box which had Lewis Price nervously scurrying across goal as it fizzed wide of the target.
In the Whites next attack, Belaïd showed fleet of foot to cut out Doukara’s dangerous centre with a timely headed clearance before Frecklington almost burst into the Leeds box following good work by Forde and Ward but the Millers’ skipper was unable to get the ball under his spell.
Just past the half hour mark, Brown’s clever piece of skill left Bridcutt grasping at thin air before the Chelsea loanee tried his luck from distance but Pontus Jansson bravely blocked his goalbound effort before Darnell Fisher pounced on the loose ball to deliver a tantalising centre which was plucked out of the sky by Green.
In the next Millers’ attack, Broadfoot’s slide-rule ball paved the way for Ward to take aim from distance but his long-range effort was deflected en-route to goal by Jansson with Green unable to claim the ball before it crossed the whitewash.
The Millers missed a tremendous opportunity to break the deadlock when Ward’s switch of play saw Fisher advance with menace down the right flank before pinpointly picking out the run of Brown, who blazed his effort over the bar when he really should have done better.
The mercurial midfielder almost made amends in the next phase of play with a superb through ball which looked set to put Newell in the clear but Kyle Bartley came out of nowhere to snuff out the danger with a fantastic sliding challenge.
With half-time approaching, Ward’s darting run and cross had Green nervously looking over his shoulder as Bartley smartly prevented Broadfoot from heading home at the far post before Forde’s clever footwork saw the ex-Walsall winger dance into the home box to deliver an inviting centre which was inches away from the outstretched foot of Adeyemi.
In the last meaningful action of the half, Doukara blazed an effort into the home faithful from just outside the box.
Half-time- Leeds United 0 Rotherham United 0
The home side were quick out of the blocks at the start of the second half and after Luke Ayling won a tussle with Newell with saw the former earn a corner, Hernandez swung over a tantalising centre to the far post which saw Bartley sneak around the back of the Rotherham defence to power a header which gave Price no chance as it rocketed into the corner of the Millers net.
The Whites were buoyed by the breakthrough and the Millers were thankful to Mattock for a timely headed clearance after Hernandez and sub Rolando Vieira had the caught the visitors’ napping with a quickly taken corner.
Mattock soon went from hero to villain by becoming the first player to be cautioned for chopping down Roofe before Hernandez’s sublime pass bisected the Rotherham defence as Roofe fizzed a delicious centre which narrowly evaded the attentions of the advancing Wood, who would have had a tap-in if he had made a connection.
Jansson became the latest player to see yellow for a late tackle on Forde but Leeds managed to scramble clear Newell’s resultant free-kick before Brown’s footwork had Bridcutt in a daze paving the way for Mattock to drill a daisycutter from distance, which took a slight deflection as it flew narrowly wide of the target.
Minutes later, Newell’s corner saw Adeyemi rise highest but his tame header was comfortably gathered by Green before Doukara’s curling effort through a ruck of bodies, at the other end, was straight down the throat of Price.
Just past the hour mark, Bridcutt clipped a ball into the box and Wood shrugged off the attentions of Broadfoot to bring the ball down before smashing an effort into the roof of the Millers goal.
Minutes later, Wood was the beneficiary of a lucky ricochet but Belaïd managed to block his point-blank effort before Adeyemi fired a long-range effort harmlessly over the Leeds bar.
In the next phase of play, Gaetano Berardi darted into the Millers box to toe-poke an effort which cannoned against the post but the visitors failed to heed the warning as Leeds added a third goal when Roofe got on the wrong side of the Rotherham defence to drill a tantalising centre across the face of goal and Wood made no mistake to tap home from just inside the six-yard box.
In the dying minutes, Ward fired into the side-netting before Hernandez almost rubbed salt into Rotherham’s wounds with a low free-kick which struck the post after Frecklington was penalised for bundling over sub Stuart Dallas just outside the box.
Full-time- Leeds United 3 Rotherham United 0
Leeds United 3
Rotherham United 0
Teams:- Leeds- Green, Ayling, Bartley, Roofe, Wood (Antonsson 80), Doukara (Dallas 74), Jansson, Hernandez, Sacko (Vieira 46), Bridcutt, Berardi. Unused- Silvestri, Cooper, Phillips, Denton.
Rotherham- Price, Mattock, Broadfoot (Wood 84), Forde (Taylor 70), Frecklington, Ward, Fisher, Newell (Vaulks 76), Adeyemi, Belaïd, Brown. Unused- Odemwingie, Halford, Blackstock, Bilboe.
Referee- S Martin