Rotherham United 1 Leeds United 1: Millers rewarded for throwing grit into Whites' clockwork
To watch Ethan Ampadu dropping in to make a back three, right-back Archie Gray pushing into central midfield, Joel Piroe finding pockets of space and Crysencio Summerville coming inside is to watch a team chock full of quality players who have been well coached.
As they played their beautiful synchronised football in Friday night's first 45 minutes, you would have got long odds on anything but a comfortable away win.
Rotherham United are a long way from the former Premier League club's talent – and bank balance – but what they lack in liquidity they more than make up for in grit, at least at their New York Stadium home.
So when Leeds failed to put them away in a dominant first half, Hakeem Odoffin popped up for a stoppage-time equaliser and the hosts rolled up their sleeves and battled out a second consecutive 1-1 home drawn against serious promotion contenders.
If Leeds failing to win made no sense as you watched the first half, Rotherham's appalling away record was just as confusing observing the second.
When Daniel Farke changes a formation which had been so silky smooth in the first half to try to tip the balance of the game back his side's way, you know you have won a moral victory. When 2,229 Leeds fans are desperately chanting "Attack, attack, attack!" as the final whistle draws near, you know you have done a difficult job well.
But when results have just cost your manager, Matt Taylor, his job, what you really need is points, and the team he left behind made sure they got one of them too.
When Summerville gave Leedsd a 1-0 lead from a fluid, well-co-ordinated move just six minutes in, a team so devastating on the counter-attack had the game right where they want it.
Rotherham's discipline is about building rigid lines of defence, not fluid patterns of attack, and in their first game under caretaker manager Wayne Carlisle they made themselves hard to break down but with a cushion beneath them, the visitors could take their time knowing the next mistake would be along eventually if they continued to wear their hosts down, knowing Carlisle had flagged before kick-off that some of his players did not have 90 minutes in their legs.
They had it in their hearts, though, and it got them through.
Piroe had already headed a Dan James cross over when his side took the lead, Glen Kamara fizzing the ball into Georginio Rutter. As soon as he did, Summerville started his run past the static Lee Peltier, arm aloft in a desperate plea for an offside flag. and the centre-forward was watching for it, playing the ball first time to the Dutchman, who played a calm finish with his right foot.
The floodgates stayed strong but the drip, drip of Leeds possession – 72 per cent in the opening 45 minutes – never stopped.
The longer the half went on, the more chances fell Piroe's way – off target from a tight angle, forcing a Viktor Johansson save, and volleying a James cross over.
Rotherham attacks were rare, and as dangerous to them as the blue-shirted Whites.
Ollie Rathbone's pressure as Leeds tried to tap the ball around short from a goal kick forced it to Fred Onyedinma but it was given up and in the blink of an eye, Summerville was bearing down on the opposite goal, only denied when Johansson came off his line to smother the shot.
Minutes later Seb Revan won a corner but when Summerville robbed him, Leeds sprang again, the ball ending in the side netting from a Kamara shot. Had he looked left, he might have been tempted to pick Piroe out.
Maybe Leeds were a bit too comfortable.
But Rotherham's tenacity took them into the break level, Odoffin winning the ball deep and when Ampadu, Joe Rodon and Gray all failed to clear, swivelling onto a shot and finding the net as the fourth official's board went up to signal stoppage time.
As they had been in their previous home game, against Ipswich Town, Rotherham were a different prospect after being given the first-half run-around.
They, too, suffered for a lack of ruthlessness, Sam Nombe failing to bury the 51st-minute chance Ampadu presented him by making a hash of his header back to Ilan Meslier. The centre-forward allowed Liam Cooper to get back and block his goal-boiund shot.
When Summerville had a rare second-half shot, Daniel Ayala and Sean Morrison threw themselves in the way.
Leeds will reflect on why they lacked incision in the second but a big part of it was down to Rotherham.
With 20 minutes ago, Farke switched to a back three with some unlikely positions – Gray in the defence, Willy Gnonto as a wing-back. But it did give them more urgency, Gnonto soon having a shot blocked and another over. The new centre-forward, Patrick Bamford, dropped deep but his effort missed the target.
The Millers turned the tables, Onyedinma released by great Christ Tiehi footwork and speeding past Cooper in the 79th minute, only for Meslier to deny him. The Leeds captain was quickly withdrawn.
Pascal Struijk, from a short corner, and Morrison, from a more orthodox one, exchanged headers.
The frustrations were all Leeds, substitute Jaidon Anthony having a goal disallowed for Bamford being offside, Summerville's shot at Johansson lacking the power of the free-kick he put over.
For Rotherham it was a sign of what they are capable of, for Leeds a reminder that nothing comes easy in the Championship.
Rotherham United: Johansson; Peltier, Ayala, Morrison, Bramall; Tiehi, Odoffin; Onyedinma, Rathbone (Lindsay 90+3), Revan (Lembikisa 72); Nombe (Hugill 72).
Unused substitutes: Eaves, Kelly, Hall, Phillips, Appiah, McGuckin.
Leeds United: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Cooper (Struijk 80), Firpo (Gnonto 70); Ampadu, Kamara (Poveda 70); Summerville, Piroe, James (Anthony 86); Rutter (Bamford 70).
Unused substitutes: Ayling, Byram, Darlow, Gruev.