Leeds United 3 Rotherham United 0: Early controversy before Leeds comprehensively outclass Millers in one-sided Championship derby
Their Leeds United counterparts certainly got value for money as any home game was ticked off with three more points, with the hosts turning on the style amid a party second period. Apart from late developments at St Mary’s, it was perfect
There was controversy early on for Leeds’s opener, with Patrick Bamford credited with the goal, despite clearly moving his arm towards the ball and getting a touch as the litany of hard moments against the Millers this season continued.
Speaking ahead of the game, Leeds lad and former season-ticket holder and Millers boss Leam Richardson spoke about needing some luck in order to get a result at his hometown club.
None arrived there, but there was nothing fortuitous about the result. Rotherham were ultimately outclassed and there’s a fair chance that these two sides could well be two divisions apart by late spring.
It was a grand day for Leeds. Crysencio Summerville headed himself to a brace, including a delicious Panenka style penalty after earlier scoring when the golden Rutter/Summerville axis yielded fruit again.
Summerville’s goal tally is not up to a seriously impressive 15 for a winger.
Leeds laid siege in the second period in particular, with Daniel Farke in the comfortable position of being able to take off some key players and hand them a breather with the game in the bag.
Among the changes, Connor Roberts would come on for his Leeds debut.
The game started with a burst of enterprise from Rotherham, who initially settled, only for a controversial moment - in a season when many things have gone against them - to leave a bad taste once again.
Glen Kamara slotted in Junior Firpo on the left in a threatening position. His low cross took a deflection off Sean Morrison with Bamford then clearly making a movement towards the ball with his right arm and seeming to get a faint touch.
No matter, the goal was awarded, with Richardson’s anger clearly to see on the touchline and understandable.
The narrative for the rest of the half was what most would have suspected, with the play heading towards the Rotherham goal.
Georgino Rutter looked in the mood, as did Summerville and Willy Gnonto. But a mixture of meek finishing, alert defending and decent keeping from Viktor Johansson thwarted the hosts.
Going the other way, the Millers seemed to target Firpo on the left and forced a couple of handy set-plays, but couldn’t cash in.
Rutter fired a scorcher over before a big chance for 2-0 came and went with Firpo dispossessing Peter Kioso before finding Summerville, who ballooned over with the goal gaping.
Soon after, a lovely touch saw Rutter control the ball in an instant, but he couldn’t apply the finishing touch and Johansson gathered, with the Swede forced into key work ahead of the break to keep out efforts from Gnonto and Archie Gray as Leeds sought the second goal which would end the game as a contest.
Gnonto gave Sebastian Revan trouble and the Millers loanee was fortunate to escape punishment following a crude challenge on the Italian international before half-time.
The game was in the palm of Leeds’s hand. It was about showing their ruthless side and taking care of business although a loose pass early in the second period from Glen Kamara almost caught out the underemployed Illan Meslier and ended up in an own goal.
Leeds got back on message as they sought a second.
It very nearly came when Bamford's deflected shot hit the bar after slick work by Summerville.
His follow up was blocked, with Gnonto firing the loose ball over. Both blocks arrived from Hakeem Odoffin, who produced two telling pieces of last-ditch defending.
The second goal soon arrived though, with an air of inevitability.
A break saw Firpo find Summerville, who found Rutter in that position he loved. His pass went through the legs of Morrison and Summerville converted from close in with precision.
The Millers were on the ropes and the home punters fancied more and so did Leeds.
Super work by Gnonto found Summerville, who was bundled over by Kioso. Bamford wanted the penalty - as he did against Preston last month. Summerville pulled rank and said ‘no way’ and scored with a delightful spot-kick which will be replayed all weekend.
It was now a question of how many and would Leeds further boost their goal difference. Gnonto failed to seal his good afternoon by firing wide.
Rutter spurned chances, while Meslier kept his clean sheet at the other end.
Leeds United: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo (Byram 63); Gruev (Roberts 75), Kamara (Cresswell 84); Gnonto, Rutter, Summerville (Piroe 63); Bamford (Joseph 75). Unused substitutes: Klaesson, Cooper, Anthony, Gelhardt.
Rotherham United: Johansson; Kioso, Odoffin, Morrison (Humphreys 79), Revan, Peltier; Clucas, Tiehi (Rathbone 87), Lindsay (Nombe 64); Cafu (Eaves 64); Hugill (Rinomhota 64). Unused substitutes: Phillips, Appiah, Seriki.
Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire).