Hayter breaks Leeds hearts
Doncaster Rovers have won promotion to the Championship after seeing off Leeds in the play-off final.
Last Updated: 25/05/08 6:04pm
Five years ago Doncaster Rovers were in the Conference. Next season they will start the campaign in the Championship after James Hayter's second half header saw off Leeds United in the League One play-off final.
Sean O'Driscoll's side have played some entertaining and incisive football all season and again at Wembley their style of play was easy on the eye as Leeds struggled to conjure chances of their own.
The first period saw Doncaster squander numerous decent opportunities as Hayter twice and James Coppinger were both denied by excellent goalkeeping from Casper Ankergren.
When Doncaster broke the deadlock in the early sparring of the second period it was a goal worthy of winning the Wembley showpiece, as Hayter stooped to bullet home a fine header from Brian Stock's corner.
Leeds' response was spirited but lacking in guile as they failed to force Sullivan into any noteworthy saves thereafter.
Hayter's crucial strike was enough to cap a third promotion in five years and bring second-tier football to Doncaster for the first time since 1957.
Leeds - who started the season on -15 points for breaking Football League rules on insolvency - had large spells of possession but were indebted to their goalkeeper Ankergren for keeping them in the game as Doncaster threatened every time they poured forward.
After Leeds full-back Bradley Johnson crashed a 25-yard shot over it was Rovers who caused panic in a bright start. Paul Green skipped inside a tame challenge from Jonathan Douglas on the right and pulled the ball back for Jason Price, but his shot was deflected behind by Paul Huntington.
Then from the resulting corner Richie Wellens wriggled into the area down the left but scooped his shot into the side-netting.
Rovers were playing the crisp attacking football which saw them demolish Southend 5-1 in the semi-final second leg and twice Ankergren had to come to Leeds' rescue before the 10-minute mark.
First captain Stock lofted a delightful ball over the top where Coppinger had beaten the offside trap, but Ankergren was quickly out to smother.
And just a minute later a clever flick from Price sent Hayter clear and again the Danish goalkeeper was alert to whip the ball away from danger and not give away a penalty.
After Rovers' eye-catching start Leeds began to win the midfield battle and Jermaine Beckford had an effort saved after a good run forward by Johnson.
O'Driscoll's side may have ended the first half slowly but started the second with a goal in the 47th minute.
Stock drifted the ball in from the right and Hayter was left with a completely free header on the penalty spot which he buried low into Ankergren's right-hand corner to silence the thousands of Leeds fans among the Doncaster supporters behind the goal.
Coppinger then had another shot well cleared after good work from Hayter down the left before the lively Jonathan Howson had another decent effort from long range which was deflected over.
Beckford then showed good pace to latch on to a misplaced touch from strike partner Dougie Freedman but his left-footed strike was straight at Neil Sullivan.
Leeds boss Gary McAllister threw on Tresor Kandol in a bid to snatch an equaliser before the influential Wellens finally succumbed to a double hernia problem which had hindered him all game and was replaced by Mark McCammon.
Coppinger again broke through and looked certain to add a killer second but Leeds skipper Douglas made a superb last-ditch challenge.
And Douglas was within inches of a spectacular late equaliser when a long throw found its way to him lurking on the edge of the area but his well-hit shot was just over.
But Rovers clung on for a deserved victory and will play in the Championship next season alongside Swansea and Nottingham Forest.
|Doncaster Rovers||Team Statistics||Leeds United|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|1||Shots on Target||4|
|2||Shots off Target||8|