Leeds United 2 – 1 Bristol Rovers

by Neil Sherwin

Leeds United today ended three years in League One by claiming promotion on the last day of the season with victory over Bristol Rovers at Elland Road.


With a number of sides still in the running to join Norwich City in the automatic promotion places, all eyes were on Leeds who knew that matters were in their own hands.

Simon Grayson’s side had to do it the hard way though as they came from a goal down and played more than half the game with ten men after Max Gradel was dismissed for a stamp.

Rovers striker Darryl Duffy had put the visitors ahead shortly after half time but strikes from substitute Jonny Howson and Jermaine Beckford swung the game in Leeds’ favour.

The home side started the better and created a number of early chances, though Mikkel Anderson in the Rovers goal was rarely troubled directly.

At the other end, the pace of Jo Kuffour kept the Leeds defenders on their toes.

The game really came to life not long before half time when Max Gradel saw red for a blatant stamp on Rovers defender Daniel Jones.

Gradel was furious with the decision and refused to leave the field before being restrained by team mates Jermaine Beckford and Michael Doyle.

Things went from bad to worse for Leeds just after the interval when a deep cross to the back post was returned across goal by Kuffour alloing Duffy to turn and stab the ball home.

At this point it was Charlton heading up automatically as they lead Oldham at Boundary Park.

Grayson reshuffled his pack, sending on local hero Jonny Howson in a move that paid dividend almost immediately as he latched on the Luciano Becchio’s lay off to bend the ball past Andersen from 20 yards.

The Leeds supporters barely had time to recover from the elation of equalising as they hit the front soon after.

A poor throw from Andersen fell straight to Bradley Johnson and his cross was only half cleared, leaving Beckford to finish from close range for his 31st goal of the season.

There were a couple of nervy moments during the final quarter of the game, but Leeds held on to clinch a famous victory.

In the other games that mattered at the top, Millwall overcame Swindon by three goals to two at the New Den, while Charlton eased to their win at Oldham.

Neither result mattered in the end however as Leeds made their first step on the ladder back to the big time.

Leeds United: Higgs, Hughes, Bromby, Collins, Lowry (Howson 54), Doyle, Kilkenny, Johnson, Beckford, (Snodgrass 90), Becchio (Watt 88), Gradel.

Subs: Ankergren, Grella, McSheffery, Michalik, Snodgrass.

Bristol Rovers: Anderson, Regan, Limes, Coles, Campbell. Duffy (Richards 80), D. Hughes, Anthony, Kuffor, Reece (Williams72), Jones.

Subs: Evans, Wright, Blizzard, Clough, Swallow, Richards.

Referee: G.Salisbury

Booked: Jones, Duffy (Rovers), Doyle (United)

Sent off: Gradel

Attendance: 38,234

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