Goalless draw with Rotherham brings 2014/15 to a close...
LEEDS UNITED 0, ROTHERHAM 0.
Leeds United: S Taylor, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, Berardi (Sharp 56), Byram, Austin, Murphy, Mowatt (White 71), C Taylor, Morison (Montenegro 81). Subs. Cairns, Phillips, Ngoyi, Sloth.
Rotherham: Martinez, Wilson, Wood, Morgan, Lafferty, Frecklington (Green 72), Smallwood, Arnason, Pringle, Ward (Bowery 53), Derbyshire (Clarke-Harris 60). Subs. Collin, Milsom, Hammill, Newton.
Referee: A D'Urso
Booked: Bamba (United)
Att: 31,850 (2,477)
The final day of the 2014/15 season, a Yorkshire derby at home to Rotherham, saw Leeds head coach Neil Redfearn name an unchanged starting line-up and substitutes bench from the previous weekend's victory at Sheffield Wednesday.
Ahead of kick-off at a packed Elland Road, the stadium to stood for a minute's applause in remembrance of those who have passed away over the course of the season.
The early stages brought little in the way of goalscoring opportunities, with both sides finding their feet on a slippery surface.
Rotherham were seeing more of the ball inside the United half but Stuart Taylor remained untested between the sticks as Danny Ward fired a free-kick high and wide before seeing his effort superbly blocked by Sol Bamba after the ball had fallen kindly for him inside the area.
At the opposite end, Bamba glanced a header wide after meeting Luke Murphy’s floated free-kick, while United did have the ball in the back of the net through Steve Morison’s neat finish on 23 minutes, only to be ruled out by the linesman’s flag for offside.
Rotherham then carved out the clearest opening of the early exchanges as Lee Frecklington’s right-wing cross found Danny Lafferty arriving unmarked at the back post, but he could only send his diving header flying into the Kop.
The game was beginning to open up after somewhat of a slow start, and Rotherham keeper Emiliano Martinez was called upon for the first time to clutch captain Liam Cooper’s backwards header following Alex Mowatt’s delivery.
It sparked a good spell of pressure from the hosts and Charlie Taylor just had the ball stolen off his toes inside the area after some fine build-up play down the right, before the 21-year-old’s cross was flicked wide by Morison.
Rodolph Austin was inches away from breaking the deadlock after 38 minutes following another flowing United move. The midfielder let fly with a 30-yard piledriver which took the slightest of deflections as it flashed agonisingly past the sprawling Martinez’s far post.
Ward could only find Taylor’s arms as Rotherham broke away at the other end, but the half-time whistle soon signalled the end of a largely forgettable opening 45 minutes.
Both sides re-emerged from the break unchanged and United started the second half brightly, with Cooper’s half-volley blocked inside a crowded area, before Murphy drilled over after being invited to shoot from distance.
Morison and Mowatt then combined with a one-two to slot the latter through on goal, only for the sting to be taken out of his low effort as it bounced behind for a corner.
Redfearn made his first change of the afternoon on 56 minutes, and it was an attack-minded one, as Billy Sharp replaced Gaetano Berardi. The striker was soon involved, too, with Martinez just managing to block his close-range effort after more intricate play.
United were enjoying the better sights of goals and Mowatt, looking to take his tally to double figures for the season, curled a free-kick over from his trademark territory as the game passed the hour mark.
Sharp drilled a right-footed effort over the bar after striding forward, before Redfearn made his second change with 20 minutes remaining, bringing Aidy White on in place of Mowatt for his first appearance of the season after a lengthy injury lay-off.
The game had a typical end-of-season feel about it, but United appeared to be largely in control as it entered the final 10 minutes. Brian Montenegro was introduced in attack for Morison as Redfearn urged his side forward in search of a late winner.
Martinez had mainly been a spectator in the Rotherham goal, but he was called into action to deny Austin, again from long-range, palming his dipping strike behind, before clutching Bamba’s header on the line from a corner which followed moments later.
Millers substitute hammered a speculative free-kick into the South Stand as the game entered three minutes of stoppage time, but there proved to be no way through for either side as United ended the campaign with a 0-0 draw.