Leeds nostalgia: Whites change tide of meagre pickings with Millmoor win

Richard Cresswell celebrates scoring for Leeds United against Rotherham United.
Richard Cresswell celebrates scoring for Leeds United against Rotherham United.
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The first of our new series sees Leon Wobschall look back on United’s cup visit to Rotherham back in September 2005.

EXCURsions across the shires of Yorkshire in the noughties had brought meagre pickings for Leeds United ahead of their arrival at Millmoor in the autumn of 2005, but all that was about to change.

United made the short journey down the M1 without a win to their name at any Yorkshire rival in five years in the proverbial tale of woe.

But a timely brace from Richard Cresswell, his first goals since joining in a seven-figure deal from Preston that August, brought some cheer for the visitors in their Carling Cup clash on a comfortable evening for Leeds.

Bridlington-born Cresswell fired Leeds in front after 19 minutes and eight minutes later, he sealed Kevin Blackwell’s side’s passage into the third round after profiting after Gregor Robertson failed to clear.

Cresswell’s opener represented the first time a Leeds player had found the net at a rival Yorkshire ground since Mark Viduka netted in the 1-1 draw with United’s West Yorkshire neighbours Bradford City in November 2002.

While Cresswell took the plaudits, his strike partner Rob Hulse did a fair amount of spadework in a dominant performance leading the line which troubled Rotherham’s rearguard and goalkeeper Neil Cutler all evening.

In the event, Leeds avoided a potential banana skin in relative comfort on an evening which saw Tottenham Hotspur bow out of the competition to Grimsby Town at Blundell Park and Southampton lose out to Mansfield Town.

Five days after their 1-0 win at Queen’s Park Rangers in the league, Leeds produced another solid defensive performance with the Millers’ attacking efforts comfortably repelled.

The Millers’ best chance fell late on to Irishman Michael Keane in the second period, but he blazed off target.

Leeds were able to record their sixth clean sheet in ten matches with a fair degree of ease, with Cresswell’s brace providing the icing on the cake.

Unfortunately for the forward, he was to suffer a knee injury against Derby County not too long after.

The victory helped to extinguish memories of United’s wretched previous visit to this corner of South Yorkshire in November 2004 when the Millers, with no wins from their opening twenty Championship games, claimed that hitherto elusive first league win of the 2004-05 campaign in a 1-0 triumph in front of 8,860 at Millmoor – the game screened live on Sky.

Martin McIntosh’s close-range strike 13 minutes from time claimed a somewhat fortuitous victory for the Millers in a madcap encounter which saw Clarke Carlisle hit the woodwork three times in the opening eight minutes for Leeds.

Home captain McIntosh struck after Leeds failed to clear a corner from Paul McLaren.


Competition: Carling Cup, R2

Date: September 20, 2005

Attendance: 5,445

Scorers: Richard Cresswell (19, 28)

Leeds line-up: Sullivan, Richardson, Gregan, Kilgallon, Crainey, Thomas-Moore, Douglas, Einarsson, Pugh, Cresswell, Hulse (Derry, 74)

Subs not used: Marques, Lewis, Harding, Bennett.

Leeds United head coach Paul Heckingbottom in the snow during Saturday's 2-1 loss at home to Sheffield Wednesday. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Leeds United 1 Sheffield Wednesday 2: Heckingbottom - bad decisions, not lack of effort cost us the game