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Rotherham come from behind to win their cup final
Friday, 17th Oct 2014 23:46 by Tim Whelan

Leeds went down to another away defeat as we failed to overcome a spirited Rotherham United.

Darko Milanic made two changes to his starting line-up, the first being Lewis Cook’s return in place of Casper Sloth. The other change was more of a surprise, with the head coach being able to recall Stephen Warnock, despite his row with Cellino over his phone-related goal celebration.

This put Warnock in direct opposition to another malcontent in the shape of Ryan Hall, who is now playing on the right for Rotherham after being released by Leeds after moaning about the club on social media. We also faced a couple of other former players in Frazer Richardson and Paul Green, and we were only denied another siting of Luciano Becchio by his ankle injury.

Rotherham made a lively start, but we soon settled down and started to control the midfield. Mowatt went past several defenders in a good run on the left hand side of the box, but pulled his cross a little bit behind Antennuci, and the Italian couldn’t turn far enough to get his shot on target. At the other end Matt Derbyshire forced Silvestri into the first of a couple of decent saves.

But we took the lead on the half hour as Doukarra’s though ball was perfectly timed to beat the offside trap and Antennuci made no mistake in slotting it past Collin into the far corner. Richardson had his hand in the air to appeal for offside, but he’d been the one playing Antennuci on. Then as the home side tried to come back straight away Silvestri stretched to keep out a goalbound header from Revell.

We had another opportunity just before half time as Ryan Hall conceded a free kick on the edge of the area with a clumsy challenge and I was screaming for Bianchi to take it, but Austin stepped up and predictably put it straight into the wall. That proved to be the last we saw of Ryan Hall’s this evening, as he was replaced at half time after another ineffectual performance.

So far, so good, but it was the home side who came out looking far more determined after the break, and Silvestri did well to get behind a fierce shot from Taylor but pushed it straight back into danger, though it was eventually scrambled away by the Leeds defence. But we weren’t so fortunate in the 58th minute when our keeper made a good save from Frecklington, but Bianchi was too slow to get to the rebound and Revell was able to nip in and turn the ball home.

A few minutes later we finally got to see Adryan in first team action for Leeds when he came on for Cook, but the immediate impact came from the substitute who joined the fray at the same time, in the shape of Rotherham’s Clarke-Harris. After our defence obligingly backed off to give him plenty of space to run through and hit a terrific long-range shot which swerved in the air to leave Silvestri with no chance.

That seemed to wake Leeds up and for the rest of the game we were to put the home side under a bit of pressure as we went in search of an equaliser. Adryan’s reputation obviously went before him as Rotherham were always quick to close him down, yet he always managed to work his way past them and get into some good positions. If only his shooting had been a little more accurate.

As we continued to press, Antenucci nearly surprised Collin with a shot the keeper saw rather late, but he managed to get a hand to it, before the ball trickled agonisingly onto the post and then just wide. Sharp and Morison came on as late substitutes for Doukarra and Bellusci, though neither had time to create any decent chances.

At the other end Bianchi did his best to gift Rotherham the chance to finish us off, but Beradi spared his compatriot’s blushes by racing across to block Revell’s shot with a brave challenge. Four minutes injury time were added and then a bit more to make up for some time-wasting, but even that wasn’t long enough for Leeds to force an equaliser, even with Silvestri coming up for the final corner.

And so we have another disappointing away defeat, to add to those already suffered at Millwall, Watford and Brentford. You could say that we deserved a draw after the chances we created towards the end, but although our foreign imports are technically pretty good for this level, they will have to learn to play with a lot more urgency to counter teams who raise their game against us.

And then there’s the defence. Perhaps it would be unfair to make Bianchi a scapegoat for this result, but too often he strikes me as a liability at the back, for all the quality he sometimes shows going forward. I hope that when Milanic has got to know his squad a little bit better he will realise that Cooper is a more reliable option in central defence.

This defeat leaves us just above Rotherham in 14th place, and two other teams could go above us when they play tomorrow. There are still a few signs that this team is starting to come together, but will we be able to start getting some results before we’ve got too much ground to make up on the play-off places?

Photo: Action Images

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