Leeds despair as Rovers go up

DONCASTER manager Sean O’Driscoll celebrated his side’s return to the Coca-Cola Championship for the first time in 50 years with nothing more than a cup of tea.

Doncaster secured a third promotion in five years thanks to James Hayter’s diving header early in the second half of their all-Yorkshire Coca-Cola League One play-off final at Wembley to deprive Leeds promotion.

But O’Driscoll refused to join in his players’ champagne celebrations after a tense encounter, preferring a clear head as he quickly focussed his attentions on surviving in English football’s second tier next season.

The former Bournemouth manager said: “No, I won’t be having any champagne. When you’ve got 20-odd players with bottles of champagne I don’t think they’re going to give any to me.

“They’ve worked hard all season, so we’ve left them to it and we’ll wait for them to calm down before having a quiet word with them, which we do after every game.”

James Hayter flung himself full length to head home Brian Stock’s 48th-minute corner and send Doncaster into the second tier of English football for the first time since 1958.

Leeds manager Gary McAllister declared he was proud of his players for defying the odds and going so close to promotion after being deducted 15 points at the start of the season for breaking Football League rules on insolvency.

The former Leeds and Scotland midfielder said: “It goes without saying how disappointed we are.

“But what I’m trying to impress on the guys in the dressing room is that myself and the coaching staff are very proud of them.

“Each individual should be proud of what they have done. To start the campaign with such a hefty handicap and get right to the final play-off match, they deserve to be applauded.

“It’s simple. That group of players won 27 games, gained 91 points and barring the handicap would have been promoted.”

It was Leeds’ second play-off final defeat in as many years — they lost 3-0 to Watford in the Coca-Cola Championship play-off final in 2006 — but McAllister insisted they would bounce back next season.

He said: “I’ve got to say I think they’ve got the stomach to come back.

“We’ll go away this summer and regroup. There will be a hard core of those guys back at Elland Road. It’s going to be busy for the chairman and myself trying to recruit people that can make us better.”

DONCASTER: Sullivan, O’Connor, Mills, Hird, Gareth Roberts, Green, Stock, Wellens (McCammon 71), Coppinger (Guy 86), Price (Lockwood 80), Hayter.

LEEDS: Ankergren, Richardson, Huntington, Michalik, Johnson, Kilkenny, Howson, Douglas, Prutton (Kandol 69), Beckford, Freedman (Hughes 77). Referee: Andy D’Urso.

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