A late Rotherham goal via Richard Wood pilled the pressure on Leeds but they were unable to grab a second to equalise. All of this was before Leeds went 2-0 up in the first half with goals from Chris Wood and Souleymane Doukara.
The first half could not have gone much worse for Rotherham United. The home side were forced into a change in the opening five minutes as Greg Halford suffered an ankle injury in a challenge with Kalvin Phillips. He has since been to hospital for an x-ray regarding the collision:
Thank you for the get well messages. Really appreciate it. Sitting in hospital waiting for the x ray results.
— Greg Halford (@GregHalford15) November 26, 2016
Rotherham went 1-0 down just 10 minutes later. Charlie Taylor was allowed to break into the box from the left hand side and he then played in Leeds’ talisman, Chris Wood, to tap home from close range.
Things got even worse for Kenny Jackett’s men after 29 minutes as they were reduced to 10 men. In an ariel duel with Liam Cooper, Rotherham’s Peter Odemingie caught the defender with a flailing elbow and he was deservedly dismissed.
There has not been much luck going Rotherham’s way this season, but their luck worsened further when arguably their most vital player, Lee Camp, was forced off with a leg injury.
As a result of Greg Halford’s injury, there were seven minutes of added time and in the last of those added on, with the help of some poor defending, Souleymane Doukara advanced into the penalty area and he placed the ball into the bottom corner to give his side a two goal advantage going into the break.
In spite of having one less man compared to their opponents, Rotherham improved vastly from the off during the second period. Their effort and desire was admirable as they showed signs that there is still some life left in them for the gruelling relegation fight which is ahead of them.
Leeds did continue to dominate possession and they created a few chances but their opponents defended valiantly at times to keep the score at 2-0.
But the visitors were settled with their two goal advantage and they were almost punished for this complacency right at the end. Rotherham got a goal back – that they deserved – with just four minutes remaining.
Rotherham kept the attack alive from a corner which allowed Izzy Brown to nod the ball onto Richard Wood, who’s resulting header could not be kept out by Robert Green to set up a tense conclusion.
Rotherham should have equalised after 89 minutes. Another corner turned into a nerve shredding goalmouth scramble and after a number of terrific blocks and a save from Robert Green, the ball dropped perfectly for Dominic Ball, who had as good an opportunity to score as you are ever likely to see but he somehow missed the target as he fired over the bar.
Leeds United manager, Gary Monk, gave his thoughts on his sides 2-1 victory after the game:
I’m happy with the three points and overall I thought we deserved them, but we made very hard work of it at the end. The last ten minutes was needless, we brought it on ourselves, if you give a team a sniff or chance in this league they will take it and we only had ourselves to blame.
Rotherham United manager, Kenny Jackett, spoke of his pride given his sides second half performance in his post-match press conference:
There was a young group on there at the end and they gave everything and we were unlucky not to get something out of the game and at least showed a battling performance and didn’t fall away. It’s a young group that are eager and pushing to try to make their way in the game and establish themselves in the Championship and play for Rotherham.”
With this win, Leeds have moved back into the play-off places and they will be hoping to maintain this position come the end of the season. Gary Monk has had a brilliant start to life as Leeds manager with him undoubtedly improving the club’s squad with business over the summer.
He has also rejuvenated some United players who were not performing to their best ability under previous regimes. With the most notable example being Chris Wood. Since the forward’s big money move from Leicester, he has struggled to find his feet and be the spearhead that he is expected to be. But this season has been an entirely different story.
In all competitions, he has scored 12 goals in just 21 appearances. If Leeds are going to make it into the play-offs come the end of the season, it is crucial for them that Wood is kept fit and that he maintains his good form from the early part of this campaign.
Things look bleak for Rotherham United. They are currently without a win in 13, conceding 43 goals in just 18 league games and there is an 11 point gap between themselves and safety.
It is vital that there is an upturn in form for them very soon. If this is not the case, you are struggling to find a case for Rotherham to somehow miraculously avoid the drop in a similar fashion to how they did so last year under Neil Warnock.