Doncaster 0 Leeds United 3: YEP jury verdict

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The YEP jury have their say on Leeds United’s 3-0 win against Doncaster Rovers.

ELLIOT BRANSBY

An important 3-0 win at Doncaster Rovers saw Leeds go back into the play-off positions. However the score didn’t really reflect the game as Doncaster enjoyed most of the second-half play until we scored our second and then quality told in the end.

Brian McDermott made one change to the starting line-up that drew with Watford as he brought back Tom Lees from injury to replace Sam Byram.

In the first 15 minutes, both teams we’re struggling to cope with the windy conditions but it was moments later when we took the lead with a moment of real quality.

Doncaster-born Alex Mowatt floated a free-kick into the box and there was Matt Smith who managed to get away from his marker and then scored with a diving header from close range.

Until half-time it became quite scrappy but we went into the break 1-0 up but an improvement was needed in the second half to seal the win.

However until 75 minutes, this never happened and whatever Paul Dickov said to his players at half-time clearly worked as we just couldn’t get out of our half after the interval.

It was very similar to our second-half performance against Watford but without the three goals. At some point during the game I expect the opposition to have possession and create chances but what disappointed me was that we never really closed them down and if they had better finishers we really could have lost the game.

I never thought I’d say this but the substitution of Michael Brown changed the game. He came on to settle the midfield and within minutes Ross McCormack scored his 17th goal of the season. The contest was over three minutes from time as a wonderful strike from Rudy Austin knocked the stuffing out of Doncaster.

It was a professional performance in the end but we were poor until McCormack scored and would have been punished by a better side.

We should have been out of sight by the end of the first half and that would have made the second half a bit more comfortable.

I thought the back three were outstanding especially with all the pressure in the second half, it was like playing against a brick wall at times.

Looking forward now, we have another Yorkshire derby against Barnsley which looking at the table should be a comfortable victory but they will be up for it so we must be at our very best.

Then it’s two away games over Christmas which could really shape our season. Good results against Blackpool and Nottingham Forest would see us cement a play-off place heading into 2014.

MEn of the match: United’s back three.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds ‘marched’ up into the top six with a comprehensive 3-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium with goals from Matt Smith, Ross McCormack (17th of the season) and Rudy Austin.

The Leeds manager made one change, Tom Lees returning at centre-back with Lee Peltier moving to right wing back. Sam Byram was on the bench.

Neither side dominated play but Leeds went one up when Smith headed in Alex Mowatt’s brilliant cross. McCormack and Mowatt had further chances to increase Leeds’ lead but one went over while Ross Turnbull saved excellently from the Leeds youngster. Doncaster’s strikers were regularly thwarted by the efforts of Marius Zaliukas.

Doncaster were more on the front foot in the second half and Richie Wellens twice had good efforts, the second bringing a good save from Paddy Kenny. Theo Robinson then had the ball in the net but his effort was ruled offside. Leeds were being severely tested so Michael Brown replaced Mowatt to add a little ‘bite’ into the midfield. Leeds eventually mounted a attack through McCormack who scored a fine goal from the narrowest of angles.

With only minutes left Rudy Austin made the game safe with a fine volley. A fine first half and a workmanlike second gave Leeds the three points and a place in the top six.

MAn of the match: Ross McCormack.

JONATHAN FORD

It was a very scrappy and very much a win-and-go situation at Doncaster. It wasn’t the best performance but it was effective and I thought the defence coped really well. Three goals from difficult openings shows we are in form as an attacking unit.

MAn of the match: Marius Zaliukas.

STEPHEN CLARK

For the long suffering Leeds United supporters, things are starting to get slightly surreal as another away victory sees Brian McDermott’s men consolidate their place in the top six.

Matt Smith’s 19th-minute header settled the side down and Leeds should have done more with their greater share of the game in the first half.

Doncaster were the better side in the second period but failed to make the breakthrough, a linesman’s flag denying them an equaliser. That scare galvanised the visitors but Ross McCormack’s strike settled the nerves. Rudy Austin’s late strike was the icing on the cake and sends Leeds into the festive season in high spirits.

MAn of the match: Ross McCormack.

GARY NEWBOULD

United earned a comprehensive win over Doncaster. Matt Smith put United ahead on 19 minutes and the result was sealed with strikes from Ross McCormack and Rodolph Austin. The defence were superb throughout.

MAn of the match: Marius Zaliukas.

MICHAEL HEMSWORTH

Leeds surged back onto the top six with an emphatic win at the Keepmoat.

The 3-0 scoreline didn’t quite tell the whole story, with Doncaster on top for much of the second half as they pressed for an equaliser.

That’s to be expected when you lead 1-0 away from home though and our finishing was clinical enough to bury the chances that fell to us.

This victory was built on an outstanding defensive performance. Yet again, Marius Zaliukas was the pick of the bunch.

He could yet prove to be our most important signing this season. Who would have thought that six weeks ago?

MAn of the match: Marius Zaliukas.

Kalvin Phillips celebrates scoring Leeds' second goal of the game Picture by Simon Hulme

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