Rotherham 2 v 1 Leeds - ReportSUPER-SUB Jonson Clarke-Harris was the Rotherham hero as his superb strike capped a stirring second-half fightback from the Millers as they put Yorkshire rivals Leeds United to the sword at a rocking New York Stadium.
The visitors had the better of the first half as Mirco Antenucci gave them the initiative at the break before Rotherham came out firing after the interval to turn the game on its head thanks to strikes from Revell and Clarke-Harris, just seconds after his introduction.
Following the international break, the Millers made just one change to their starting line-up since their last outing at Norwich as flying winger Ryan Hall was recalled to the starting 11 at the expense of Richard
Brindley, who was ruled out because of injury.
Centre-half Kari Arnason returned to the day job after starring for his Icelandic national side following their eye-catching victory over the Netherlands earlier in the week.
In a red-hot atmosphere, the visitors had the first sight of goal when Rodolph Austin tried his luck from distance but his effort was deflected behind.
From the resultant corner, Rotherham failed to clear decisively and Alex Mowatt skipped past Frazer Richardson with a minimum of fuss in the box before playing a slide-rule ball which paved the way for
Antenucci to look to sneak the ball into the near post but the ball whistled harmlessly past the upright.
At the other end, Matt Derbyshire got on the wrong side of Jason Pearce to advance menacingly into the box but the Leeds skipper recovered sufficiently to usher him out of play.
The ex-Forest striker was in the thick of the action minutes later as he was upended by Tommaso Bianchi on the edge of box and from the resultant free-kick, Hall almost punished the visitors when he unleashed a piledriver which narrowly cleared the visitors’ crossbar.
The game sprang into action minutes later when Souleymane Doukara dragged a shot across the face of goal after showing Arnason a quick pair of heels before Rotherham turned defence into attack in the blink of an eye and smart work by Revell gave Derbyshire a glimpse of the goal as he fired a low drive from the edge of the box which was smartly smothered by Marco Silvestri.
The visitors had a lucky escape when Ben Pringle’s inswinger was met by the head of home skipper Craig Morgan and with the visitors unable to clear, Revell was inches away from prodding home before Leeds snuffed out the danger.
Just before the half hour, Lee Frecklington became the first to see yellow as he was harshly adjudged to have floored Giuseppe Bellusci just outside the box before Leeds stunned the home faithful by taking the lead moments later.
There looked little danger until Doukara injected pace into the move and his perfectly-weighted pass saw Antenucci beat the offside trap as the Rotherham rearguard stepped forward and the Leeds frontman kept his nerve to calmly slide the ball into the corner of the goal giving Adam Collin no chance.
The visitors were lifted by the breakthrough and Austin blasted over from distance before Joe Skarz floated a ball which was calmly knocked down into the path of Derbyshire by Revell paving the way for Frecklington to strike through a ruck of bodies but Silvestri was well-stationed to gather smartly.
Home hearts were fluttering as a mazy run from Lewis Cook had the Rotherham defence at sixes and sevens before the Millers came within a whisker of the equaliser when Pringle’s inviting centre saw Revell direct a looping header which was arrowing towards goal until Silvestri produced a superb, acrobatic save to parry the ball to safety.
With half-time approaching, Austin’s marauding run from the heart of midfield saw the Jamaican flash an effort over before the Millers had a scare when Antenucci’s run and cross gave Doukara an opportunity to strike goalwards but Arnason did enough to prevent him doubling the visitors’ advantage.
In injury-time, Hall clumsily bundled over Mowatt on the edge of the box but Austin’s resultant free-kick was bravely blocked by the Rotherham wall.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 0 Leeds United 1
The Millers were quick out of the blocks in the second half and substitute Paul Taylor almost made an immediate impact when his snap shot from just outside the box was deflected over by Stephen Warnock.
Moments later, the Ipswich loanee was again at the heart of Rotherham’s attacking intent when he stung the palms of Silvestri with a powerful free-kick from distance before Tommaso Bianchi became the first Leeds player to see yellow after incurring the wrath of the referee.
Minutes later, Revell failed to trouble Silvestri with a looping header which harmlessly cleared the crossbar before Pringle’s error gifted Mowatt the opportunity to strike a low drive which was straight down the throat of Collin at the other end.
The Millers came out a rejuvenated outfit after the break and they were rewarded for their efforts with the equaliser just shy of the hour mark.
Following a period of pressure, Frecklington ghosted into the box almost unnoticed and with the Leeds’ defence backing off, he fired a left-footed effort which brought the best out of Silvestri but Revell showed great awareness to plant the rebound home from point-blank range.
The home side’s joy almost proved to be shortlived as Cook delivered an inviting centre which saw Doukara show fleet of foot to steer the ball past the outstretched dive of Collin into the bottom corner of the goal but the assistant referee came to Rotherham’s rescue as he flagged for offside.
The moment proved crucial seconds later as the New York Stadium erupted into raptures as Rotherham took the lead thanks to an inspired substitution from Millers’ chief Steve Evans.
Just seconds after bringing Clarke-Harris into the fray at the expense of Derbyshire, the ex-Oldham striker made an instant impact as he pounced on the loose ball before running hard at the visitors defence, who backed off and he made them pay when he struck a fantastic left-footed effort which fizzed into the bottom corner of the goal.
In an enthralling encounter, the Millers had ‘keeper Collin to thank for preserving their lead with a full-stretch save after sub Adryan had cleverly worked a shooting position on the edge of the box.
With 20 minutes to go, Skarz fired a fierce centre which saw Clarke-Harris ghost between two defenders to direct a header which had Silvestri nervously scurrying across goal to keep the ball out before the visitors’ keeper almost turned from hero to villain when his error almost presented Revell with an open goal before he recovered just in time.
An ensuing melee saw the duo booked for a bit of handbags before Doukara joined them in the book for a late lunge on Skarz.
With time running out for the visitors, Adryan gave the Millers a scare when his powerful run and shot grazed the home upright before Richardson was on-hand to snuff out Austin’s dangerous centre moments later.
Minutes later, the home fans had their hearts in their mouths when Antenucci’s struck a low effort which Collin spilled onto the upright as the ball fortunately rolled wide of the goal before Revell almost put the icing on the cake twice late on but his efforts were narrowly wide of the target.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 2 Leeds United 1
Teams:- Rotherham- Collin, Skarz, Arnason, Hall (P Taylor 46), Frecklington, Revell, Green, Richardson, Pringle (Smallwood 80), Morgan, Derbyshire (Clarke-Harris 63). Unused:- Loach, Broadfoot, Bowery, Swift.
Leeds- Silvestri, Warnock, Austin, Bellusci, Pearce, Berardi, Bianchi (Morison 88), Cook (Adryan 63), Mowatt, Doukara (Sharp 76), Antenucci. Unused:- S Taylor, Byram, Cooper, Sloth.
Referee:- Keith Stroud
Attendance:- 11350 (2294).