A spectacular debut goal by new signing Mustapha Carayol helped Leeds United to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup at the expense of Rotherham United at a soggy Elland Road.
Winger Carayol came in for his debut less than 24 hours after being signed for the rest of the season from Middlesbrough and made an immediate impact when he struck just before half-time with a powerful angled strike from just inside the box that proved too hot for Miller keeper Lee Camp to handle.
With striker Souleymane Doukara taking advantage of a defensive error to add a second in the 90th minute Leeds went through 2-0.
Initially it was low key stuff in front of a disappointing 16,039 crowd with the Whites following on from their poor display against MK Dons as they took 33 minutes to get their first effort in on goal, but they improved as the game went on and were full value for their win in the end.
Rotherham had the first half-chance as their former Leeds player Paul Green got a shot in from the edge of the box that needed saving by Marco Silvestri.
Grant Ward then shot wide from 20 yards, but the visitors were also looking short of attacking ideas and it was no surprise the game stayed goalless for as long as it did.
Leeds’ first opportunity came when Sam Byram came in at the far post to get a header in from Liam Bridcutt’s cross. They stepped it up from this point as Liam Cooper’s overhead from a corner went wide and Doukara saw a shot in the box blocked.
The Whites went in front in the 45th minute when Charlie Taylor’s clever pull back gave Carayol time to weigh up a shot and he fired the ball into the net for a goal that was not in keeping with what had happened up to that point.
The second half was more open and Leeds players seemed to enjoy themselves more. Bridcutt went on a great run to get in behind the Millers defence and his cross almost brought about an own goal. Sam Byram saw a shot saved after cleverly opening up space on the edge of the box and Cooper’s header from Luke Murphy’s cross was directed straight at keeper Camp.
Rotherham responded as sub Emmanuel Ledesma went close with two strikes and Jonson Clarke-Harris saw a tame shot comfortably saved by Silvestri.
But Carayol got another shot in at the other end, firing just wide in his last action before being taken off to big applause after his encouraging debut display on the left wing.
Rotherham went with three strikers for the last 12 minutes, but it was Leeds who looked more like scoring again. Sub Sol Bamba headed wide and Mirco Antenucci saw a well struck overhead kick blocked by a defender with appeals for handball falling on deaf ears.
Stuart Dallas then got on the end of good play by Doukara and Antenucci only to see his shot come back off the crossbar.
Leeds did finally add to their lead in the 90th minute when Doukara chased a hopeful long ball and nipped in to get it with Rotherham defender Frazer Richardson and keeper Camp dithering on the edge of their box. The home forward virtually walked the ball into the net for his first goal for more than a year.
Leeds boss Steve Evans thought his side were worthy winners and was pleased to go through to the fourth round.
He said: “We were disappointed with parts, but in other parts we played well.
“I was really pleased with all my players. It was a difficult pitch for both teams.
“Mustapha Carayol scored a great goal and in the first 10 minutes had the full back on toast, beating him inside and out. He showed why we brought him in and you saw the reception he got when we took him off.
“Souleymane Doukara came alive 10 minutes before half-time and worked hard. He got his rewards for it with the goal at the end.
“We would like a home tie in the next round and have the place rocking against one of the big boys with 35,000 or 36,000 in the ground would be my preference.”
Leeds United 2
(Carayol 45, Doukara 90)
Rotherham United 0
Saturday, January 9, 2016
FA Cup round three
Leeds: Silvestri, Coyle, Bellusci (Bamba 79), Cooper, Taylor, Byram, Bridcutt, Murphy (Cook 87), Carayol (Dallas 74), Doukara, Antenucci.
Rotherham: Camp, Richardson, Broadfoot, Belaid, Mattock, Facey (Clarke-Harris 45), Smallwood, Green, G Ward (Derbyshire 78), Newell, D Ward (Ledesma 57).
Referee: Any Woolmer.