Saunders is brought back down to earth as Leeds romp to derby win

Doncaster Rovers 0 Leeds United 3
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Leeds United deflated some of the buoyancy that Dean Saunders had brought to Doncaster Rovers by inflicting the Welshman's first defeat since his arrival as manager.

Doncaster had taken seven points from Saunders' first three matches since he replaced Sean O'Driscoll but the honeymoon came to an end last night as Leeds secured an emphatic victory in this Yorkshire derby through goals from Danny Pugh, Ross McCormack and Tom Lees.

For Saunders it was a reality check he must have known would come sooner or later with a team that had taken just one point from 21 prior to his arrival, and it ensured unhappy debuts for goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and left-back Hérita Ilunga, the pair newly signed on loans from Wigan and West Ham respectively.

"I've learned more tonight than I had in the three games before," said Saunders, who bemoaned Doncaster's defending, particularly for the first and third goals which came after Pugh and Lees had lost their markers at set-pieces. "We conceded three terrible goals and I thought we dropped our heads a little bit."

James O'Connor was culpable for the first after 20 minutes, slipping and losing Pugh when Robert Snodgrass swung in a free-kick from the right to allow the loanee from Stoke a simple finish. McCormack doubled Leeds' advantage in spectacular fashion six minutes after the restart. Latching on to Andy Keogh's pass into the penalty area, he sent the ball spinning behind him with his first touch but swivelled and delivered a superb overhead strike for his 10th goal of the campaign.

Lees wrapped up Leeds' first away league win by heading Snodgrass's corner low past Kirkland. With his side now up to fifth in the table, Leeds manager Simon Grayson said: "We looked very dangerous on the counterattack, we have some good players playing with a lot of confidence and to get a clean sheet as well is very pleasing."

Doncaster Rovers (4-4-2): Kirkland; O'Connor, Naylor, Friend, Ilunga; Coppinger (Bennett, 61), Gillett, Stock, Oster (Mason, 61); Sharp, Parkin (Hayter, 69). Substitutes not used: Sullivan (gk), Chimbonda.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Lonergan (Rachubka, 77); Connolly, Lees, O'Dea, White; Snodgrass, Clayton (Vayrynen, 85), Howson, Pugh; Keogh, McCormack (Becchio, 71). Substitutes not used: Kisnorbo, Forssell.

Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).