Head coach Darko Milanic is still waiting for his first win in charge after Leeds United let a half-time lead slip to go down to a 2-1 defeat on their first visit to Rotherham United’s New York Stadium.
The Whites were good value for their lead at the break after Mirco Antenucci netted on the half-hour and they played some composed passing football, but they came under pressure in the second half and let in two goals in eight minutes.
Despite the defeat there were plenty of bright spots for Leeds to focus on, notably with the long awaited first appearance of Brazilian playmaker Adryan, who played the last half-hour and on another night would have had a goal to show for his efforts.
Leeds started well and after Rudy Austin saw an early long range effort deflected wide they could have taken the lead when Antenucci shot wide at the near post following a fine run into the box and low pull back by Alex Mowatt.
Souleymane Doukara ran at the home defence only to shoot wide from the edge of the box before Rotherham had their first serious effort, Matt Derbyshire’s low shot saved by Marco Silvestri.
Leeds took the lead in the 30th minute when Doukara slipped his strike partner in behind the home defence and Antenucci finished confidently past keeper Adam Collin.
Fast breakaways then threatened more goals, but the final pass or shot went astray to leave the score at 1-0 to the break. Austin shot over twice and Doukara’s attempted overhead ended up in a weak contact after Antenucci’s run into the box resulted in a shot that was blocked.
Rotherham showed they could still be a danger, however, with high balls into the box and from one of them Alex Revell’s header needed a fine save from Silvestri to keep the ball out.
The hosts came out for the second half pumped up and substitute Paul Taylor saw his long range free-kick beaten away by Silvestri then Revell headed over a Ben Pringle cross.
It looked like Leeds had weathered the storm as they broke out and Mowatt picked up a loose ball only to see his shot easily saved by Collin.
But within a minute of this Rotherham equalised as the Leeds back line switched off for a second and Lee Frecklington burst into the box. His shot was parried by Silvestri, but the ball fell straight to Revell, who fired home.
Doukara had the ball in the net for Leeds soon after, but was rightly called offside and it was double disappointment for them on 65 minutes as the defence backed off substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris. With his first touch he set up a shot from outside the box and with his next he beat Silvestri with a low swerving strike fit to win any game.
Leeds did not give up, however, and only a superb save low down by Collin kept out a fine Adryan shot from the edge of the box.
Clarke-Harris’s header was saved by Silvestri at the other end before Adryan showed good feet again only to shoot wide.
Leeds came within inches of a deserved equaliser when Antenucci’s shot from just outside the box was pushed onto the post by Collin and Adryan shot over when the resulting corner was only half-cleared.
Revell was denied by Silvestri and a last ditch tackle by Gaetano Berardi as he had two late chances to make sure of Rotherham’s victory.
The hosts then were left to sweat deep into injury-time when a corner was headed wide by Steve Morison.
That was the last action to end a decent game that saw Leeds unlucky not to bring anything home.
But with four games without a win now for Milanic the pressure is building ahead of a tough trip to Norwich next Tuesday.
Rotherham United 2
(Revell 57, Clarke-Harris 65)
Leeds United 1
Friday, October 17, 2014
Sky Bet Championship
Referee: Keith Stroud.