DCSIMG

Rotherham United 4 Leeds United 2 - Woeful United suffer Cup exit as Millers shine

IT may have an athletics track running around the pitch, it may be several miles from the their spiritual home of Millmoor and the electronic scoreboard may not be able to cope with a flurry of goals.

But Rotherham United have quickly made themselves at home at the Don Valley Stadium since their summer move, as an impressive haul of 13 points from five league games vividly illustrates.

It is, however, the cup exploits of Mark Robins's side that have put the host venue for the 1991 Student Games firmly on the footballing map as somewhere opposition teams fear to tread.

As Wolves, Southampton and now Leeds United have found to their cost, Rotherham are a fearsome prospect in their new surrounds.

First-half goals from Ian Sharps and Mark Hudson coupled with quick-fire strikes after the break by Drewe Broughton and Nick Fenton ensured the Millers took advantage of some truly atrocious defending from Gary McAllister's side.

So susceptible were United to crosses from either flank that watching Brighton manager Mickey Adams must have left Sheffield last night feeling quietly confident ahead of Saturday's trip to Elland Road.

The inadequacies of the opposition should not, however, detract from Rotherham's effort in deservedly progressing to the third round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy courtesy of the expansive, attack-minded approach that Robins clearly preaches to his players.

Much of the build-up to the game had been spent with the visiting players and coaching staff trying to work out if the goalposts were of the requisite height due to even the more diminutive among the travelling party being able to touch the crossbar with ease.

Eventually, referee Scott Mathieson appeared with a tape measure and the groundstaff then spent the next 20 minutes frantically using blocks of wood to lift both goals and ensure the game could kick off on time.

By the end of the night, the visitors were probably wishing they had kept quiet rather than be humbled in such embarrassing fashion by the League Two outfit.

Rotherham opened the scoring in the 17th minute when a long throw from Andy Nicholas was flicked over goalkeeper David Lucas and into the net by Sharps.

Leeds drew level just after the half-hour after Neil Kilkenny's chipped pass over the top had been turned towards goal where Andy Warrington triggered an almighty scramble by diverting the ball into a scrum of players.

Eventually, Jonny Howson claimed the ball before coolly planting a shot into the corner of the net.

Buoyed by the equaliser, Leeds twice went close through Robert Snodgrass and Kilkenny before a wonderful piece of skill by Reuben Reid restored the hosts' advantage two minutes before the break.

Collecting the ball out wide on the right, the Millers forward jinked his way through three weak challenges before being upended by a desperate lunge from Andrew Hughes.

Referee Mathieson immediately pointed to the spot and although Lucas guessed right to save Mark Hudson's resulting penalty, the former Huddersfield man gleefully smashed the rebound into the net.

Any of the 1,836 travelling fans hoping for a big turnaround after the break were in for a rude awakening with the tie effectively being over within eight minutes.

First, a sweeping move ended with Broughton powering a header beyond Lucas from close range after Dale Tonge's cross had left the United defence flat-footed. Worse was to come from the visiting back-line on 53 minutes when Fenton was afforded sufficient space to head Alex Rhodes's corner into the net.

Hopes of an unlikely comeback were briefly raised when Enoch Showunmi, looking suspiciously offside, drilled a low shot past Warrington after being played through by Howson.

The flurry of goals unfortunately proved too much for the electronic scoreboard at one end of Don Valley, which promptly packed up before springing belatedly back into life later in the half with a scoreline of 'Rotherham 45 Leeds 2' after the home side had what they felt was a valid fifth 'goal' by Pablo Mills disallowed for a foul.

Rotherham United: Warrington; Tonge, Sharps, Fenton, Nicholas; Hudson, Cummins, Mills; Rhodes, Broughton, Reid. Unused substitutes: Cann, Burchill, Joseph, Taylor, Green.

Leeds United: Lucas; Hughes, Rui Marques, Michalik, Parker (Sheehan 57); Prutton, Kilkenny, Howson, Robinson (Becchio 71); Snodgrass, Showunmi (Beckford 71). Unused substitutes: Delph, Ankergren.

Referee: S Mathieson (Cheshire).

 
 
 

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