LEEDS UNITED ended the 2014-15 campaign with a whimper in a low-key 0-0 derby draw with Rotherham United in front of Elland Road’s biggest crowd of the season.
An attendance of 31,850 gathered to witness what many expect to turn out to be Neil Redfearn’s final match in charge at Leeds, with fans voicing their support for the head coach during the ninety minutes on a number of occasions.
On the pitch, Redfearn could not oversee a first home win in five for Leeds, with the Millers deserving of their point.
After the pre-match colour of Steve Evans delivering on his intent to don a sombrero and beach wear on his arrival at Elland Road, there was little sunshine on the pitch in a half which the Millers shaded.
Ahead of kick-off, a few purple beachballs were doing in the rounds along with some chants of there’s only one Neil Redfearn, with the United head coach’s deal finishing after today’s game.
The chants in support of Redfearn got regular airings, with the 49-year-old quick to reciprocate and clap fans at each opportunity.
Several brief chants against owner Massimo Cellino were also sung from home supporters in the holiday crowd including “Time to go, Massimo” and “Redfearn in, Cellino out.”
There was little to get excited about on the pitch, with the Millers the best side in the opening 45 minutes.
The Millers partied after securing safety on Tuesday evening, but they had their business heads on at Elland Road as they chased their first double over Leeds in over half a century.
Former Leeds academy Danny Ward wasted their first chance with a free-kick on 17 minutes, firing wastefully into the Kop before Sol Bamba headed tamely wide at the other end.
Steve Morison had the ball in the net not long after, slotting home after being supplied by Alex Mowatt, but an offside flag caught short any celebrations.
An excellent chance to draw first blood was soon spurned by the Millers, with Leeds caught short with Lee Frecklington’s cross finding its way to Danny Lafferty, arriving at the back post, but he headed over from just eight yards out with plenty of the goal to aim at.
It was the Millers who produced there more meaningful pockets of play with Richie Smallwood curling a free-kick over before Liam Cooper’s glancing header at the other was easily held by Emi Martinez.
A fine saving tackle from Kari Arnason then denied Charlie Taylor after some rare fluidity from Leeds, before a goalbound shot from Danny Ward hit Matt Derbyshire in the face.
Leeds’ best moment of the half arrived at the feet of Rudy Austin, whose blockbuster strike fizzed just wide before Frecklington’s curler was easily held by Stuart Taylor.
On the restart, Leeds, attacking the Kop, showed more endeavour with Luke Murphy before a low shot from Mowatt was deflected wide by Lawrie Wilson.
Redfearn threw on Billy Sharp on 56 minutes to provide needed support up front to Morison and the substitute almost prodded Leeds ahead soon after his entry into the fray, only for Richard Wood to make a fine saving tackle.
The Millers weathered the mini-storm with Jonson Clarke-Harris soon entering the stage in place of Derbyshire.
A trip from Arnason on Murphy served up another decent free-kick change for Leeds, but Mowatt was wasteful.
Play started to become more scrappy, with Rotherham looking like the side most likely to make a breakthrough, but failing to create that chance that their patient build-up play hinted at.
United had one-half chance with Sharp firing into the Kop, but it was all far from convincing with their seasonal finale turning into a bit of a damp squib for the big crowd.
United made their second change on 71 minutes when Aidy White - out of contract this summer - made his first appearance for Leeds in almost exactly a year.
Arnason curled a shot over with neither keeper having much work to do in the second period as the game started to peter out.
Leeds ended the game on the front foot, with Austin’s long-ranger turned away by Martinez before Bamba’s header was held by Martinez following Murphy’s corner.
Rotherham had one last chance before the final whistle, with Clarke-Harris drilling a free-kick wide after being fouled on the edge of the box by Bamba.
Leeds United: S Taylor, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, Berardi (Sharp 56), Austin, Murphy, C Taylor, Byram, Mowatt (White 71), Morison (Montenegro 81). Substitutes not used: Cairns, Phillips, Ngoyi, Sloth.
Rotherham United: Martinez, Wilson, Wood, Morgan, Lafferty; Frecklington (Green 72), Smallwood, Arnason, Pringle; Ward (Bowery 53), Derbyshire (Clarke-Harris 60). Substitutes not used: Collin, Milsom, Hammill, Newton.
Referee: Andy D’Urso (Essex).
Attendance: 31,850 (2,477 Rotherham fans).