Steve Evans, the Rotherham manager, spent the days leading up to this fixture doing a decent impression of a boxing promoter – and his side certainly displayed their fighting spirit to record victory over beleaguered Leeds.
The visitors looked on course for a first win under their Slovenian manager Darko Milanic but Evans’s team have spirit in abundance.
Alex Revell scored his first goal of the season to equalise early in the second half before Jonson Clarke-Harris struck a superb winner just over a minute after coming on as a substitute. It was his first goal for Rotherham having joined them from Oldham.
When the clubs last met in the league a decade ago, the west Yorkshire team were still smarting after being relegated from the Premier League.
This, Evans said, was the biggest match in the short history of the New York Stadium, which has witnessed successive promotions from League Two and League One in its first two seasons as the Millers’ home.
There has been talk that Milanic has had difficulty getting his message across to some of his players. Something definitely appeared to be lost in translation before kick-off, with Adryan being including in the starting line-up before an amendment hastily followed, with the Brazilian playmaker named as a substitute, his debut delayed until the second half at least.
Rotherham saw chances come and go midway through the first half. Revell’s through-ball to Matt Derbyshire was well weighted but the striker could not apply a clinical finish, shooting straight at Marco Silvestri.
The home side were enjoying their best spell when Leeds struck the opener. Souleymane Doukara, with a precise pass, and Mirco Antenucci, with a timed run, sprung the offside trap and the Italian finished calmly to beat Adam Collin.
Leeds were grateful to one of Antenucci’s compatriots for preserving that lead as Silvestri dived to his right to push away a header from Revell following Ben Pringle’s curling cross from the left.
Yet the goalkeeper could not prevent Rotherham’s equaliser 13 minutes into the second half and Silvestri had no chance with Rotherham’s second. Evans sent on Clarke-Harris and the 20-year-old lashed a 25-yard drive home moments later.
Rotherham United (4-4-2): Collin; Richardson, Arnason, Morgan, Skarz; Hall (Taylor, h-t), Green, Frecklington, Pringle (Smallwood, 81); Derbyshire (Clarke-Harris, 63), Revell. Substitutes not used: Loach, Broadfoot, Bowery, Swift.
Leeds United (4-1-2-1-2): Silvestri; Berardi, Pearce, Bellusci, Warnock; Bianchi (Morison, 88); Austin, Mowatt; Cook (Adryan, 63); Antenucci, Doukara (Sharp, 76). Substitutes not used: Taylor, Byram, Cooper, Sloth.
Referee: K Stroud (Hampshire)Reuse content