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Leeds United top Rotherham 2-1, Quick Recap: An unconvincing victory still earns three points

Not the most convincing game tonight at the New York Stadium, but a win nonetheless.

Leeds United v Norwich City - EFL Cup Fourth Round
Souleymane Doukara showed up tonight in Rotherham.
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Leeds United’s trip to Rotherham started slowly, with both teams just playing the ball through the middle of the park in the first minutes of Saturday night’s fixture. Neither were able to break through each other’s defence in the first ten minutes, but Leeds clearly looked the better side from the start.

In the 14th minute, Leeds showed their class, with a lovely play down the left by Charlie Taylor, whose pass found Chris Wood on the 12-yard box, and he slotted the ball past Lee Camp in the Rotherham goal for a 1-0 lead.

After that, Leeds really seemed to take control and nearly made it 2-0, but Liam Cooper’s header just went wide of the post on 15 minutes.

The biggest turning point came just before the half hour mark after Peter Odemwingie elbowed Liam Cooper while going up for a header and was rightly given his marching orders.

I expected Leeds would then control the rest of the half, but Rotherham took the game to Leeds and fought well.

But the ten men struggled to really create anything and Leeds put the nail in the Rotherham coffin after Souleymane Doukara found some space in the box, Kemar Roofe found him, and The Duke pushed the ball through the defense into the back of the net.

Overall, the first half was positive: we scored two goals and for the most part we looked very comfortable. I would have liked Leeds to show a ruthless streak, especially when Rotherham went down to 10 men, but a 2-0 lead was good enough.

But then Leeds came out lacklustre in the second half. Rotherham were organised and made life difficult for the team that was 18 spots above them in the table and up a man on the pitch.

Kelvin Phillips saw a long range shot fly wide on 54 mins, as Leeds couldn’t create any clear-cut chances. Sacko had a half-chance after he was played in by O’Kane just before the hour, but that was really it.

After that, Rotherham started to push on and had the best of the latter stages as they looked to get something out of the game. Either Leeds took the foot off the gas, or they really lack a killer instinct.

Rotherham’s persistence payed off on 85 minutes, after Leeds couldn’t clear a corner and Richard Wood looped a header past Rob Green and made the last 10 minutes a little nervy.

The Leeds players did show their commitment to the cause after that, but just barely. After a Rotherham corner turned into a goal mouth scramble, the Leeds players put their bodies on the line to preserve the victory.

After the final whistle went, a sense of relief fell upon us as the general performance was poor. However, the most important thing was the victory - we are now 5th in the table and have the chance to reach the semi-final of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night. All is well at Elland Road, even if it’s not always comfortable.

My brilliant colleague Jack Dudley will be dissecting the game in a little more detail tomorrow. Look for that, and celebrate the view from the play-off position below. MOT