Leeds lost for the fifth time in six matches as Doncaster took a step closer to safety with victory at Elland Road.

After agreeing to defer half of their wages for March to ease the burden on the cash-strapped club, Leeds' players did not go down without a fight.

But first-half goals from David Cotterill and Billy Sharp were enough to give the visitors only their second away victory of the season.

Ross McCormack's 28th goal of the season was not enough for Leeds.

The Whites are losing more than £1m a month, and Massimo Cellino's bid to buy a majority stake in the club was blocked by the Football League.

The Italian businessman intends to appeal against that decision, and Leeds fans staged a minor demonstration against current owners Gulf Finance House 20 minutes into the game, chanting "turn your backs on GFH" as they faced away from the pitch.

Massimo Cellino

Italian businessman Massimo Cellino still wants to take over at Elland Road

Three minutes later the hosts were behind when Cotterill's corner was headed out by Sam Byram as far as Richie Wellens, who returned the ball for Cotterill to fire an angled shot past Jack Butland from 15 yards.

Leeds twice went close to an equaliser, McCormack's free-kick flying just wide and Cameron Stewart's rising shot just clearing the bar.

But Doncaster, who gave a debut to on-loan Watford defender Lucas Neill, doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time when Byram lost possession and Sharp slotted home.

Leeds responded after the break and thought they should have had a penalty when Doncaster defender James Husband appeared to handle.

But they did find a way through just after the hour as McCormack met a Matt Smith flick-on to head his fourth goal in as many games.

James Coppinger missed a chance to make the game safe for Doncaster, who then had to withstand late pressure to secure their first win over their Yorkshire rivals in eight attempts.

On-loan goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was booked for bringing down McCormack just outside the box, and then saved from Stewart.

And as Leeds pressed for a later leveller, Smith's injury-time header grazed the bar.

Leeds manager Brian McDermott:

"The big picture is that Massimo Cellino has his appeal heard on Monday which is a very important day for this club. Forget about me. It is all about what is right for Leeds United going forward.

"We need this ownership issue sorted out as of yesterday because it has been a very difficult few months. I am not looking for excuses.

"I spoke to the players on Friday about the wages situation and it wasn't an easy day but an agreement was reached.

"We were in the top six around Christmas and what has happened since is frightening. Our first-half performance was embarrassing. It was just horrible to watch.

Doncaster manager Paul Dickov:

"I was delighted. In the first half we were fantastic. You have to give Leeds a lot of credit because they put us under real pressure in the second half.

"This result gets us closer to safety, we have seven games left and our recent form is good. It was a rare away win and we are dedicating it to the fans who have supported us all over the country. All credit to the players for the pride they showed in their performance.

"We were disappointed with the goal they scored because we switched off and you can't do that with Ross McCormack in their team.

"You can't give yourselves a points target for survival in this league but we have given ourselves a chance."

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (4)

Leeds United

  • 30 Butland
  • 25 Byram Booked
  • 16 Pugh
  • 06 Murphy (Tonge - 45' Booked )
  • 04 Lees Booked
  • 05 Pearce
  • 36 Mowatt
  • 08 Austin (White - 45' )
  • 44 McCormack
  • 20 Smith
  • 28 Stewart

Substitutes

  • 10 Hunt
  • 14 White
  • 15 Warnock
  • 18 Tonge
  • 22 Wootton
  • 26 Poleon
  • 33 Cairns

Doncaster Rovers

  • 33 Johnstone Booked
  • 02 Quinn Booked
  • 03 Husband
  • 19 Wellens (Furman - 71' )
  • 27 Neill
  • 20 Méité
  • 11 Cotterill
  • 18 Keegan Booked
  • 09 Brown
  • 10 Sharp (Robinson - 84' )
  • 26 Coppinger

Substitutes

  • 01 Turnbull
  • 04 Furman
  • 07 Duffy
  • 12 McCullough
  • 21 De Val
  • 22 Robinson
  • 31 Stevens
Ref: Darren Bond
Att: 23,476

Match Stats

Shots

13 7

On target

4 2

Corners

11 1

Fouls

14 10

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Leeds United 1, Doncaster Rovers 2.

90:00 +4:06 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Leeds United 1, Doncaster Rovers 2.

90:00 +1:45

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Abdoulaye Méité.

90:00 +0:56

Attempt missed. Matt Smith (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Ross McCormack with a cross.

89:36

Danny Pugh (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:36

Foul by Theo Robinson (Doncaster Rovers).

88:18

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by David Cotterill.

86:03

Alex Mowatt (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

86:03

Foul by Lucas Neill (Doncaster Rovers).

84:36 Booking

Booking Michael Tonge (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

84:21

Foul by Michael Tonge (Leeds United).

84:21

James Husband (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

83:35

Attempt missed. Ross McCormack (Leeds United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Matt Smith with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

83:07 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Doncaster Rovers. Theo Robinson replaces Billy Sharp.

82:34

Offside, Doncaster Rovers. James Husband tries a through ball, but James Coppinger is caught offside.

77:49

Attempt saved. Cameron Stewart (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Matt Smith with a headed pass.

77:06

Attempt blocked. David Cotterill (Doncaster Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Chris Brown.

74:36

Attempt missed. Jason Pearce (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ross McCormack with a cross following a corner.

74:12

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Chris Brown.

73:26 Booking

Booking Sam Johnstone (Doncaster Rovers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

73:10

Ross McCormack (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

73:10

Foul by Sam Johnstone (Doncaster Rovers).

72:13

Attempt saved. Matt Smith (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Sam Byram.

71:19

Aidan White (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

71:19

Foul by Lucas Neill (Doncaster Rovers).

70:49

Attempt blocked. Danny Pugh (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ross McCormack.

70:23 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Doncaster Rovers. Dean Furman replaces Richard Wellens.

67:31

James Husband (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

67:31

Foul by Michael Tonge (Leeds United).

66:40

Attempt missed. James Coppinger (Doncaster Rovers) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.

64:15

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by David Cotterill.

63:53

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by James Husband.

61:12 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Leeds United 1, Doncaster Rovers 2. Ross McCormack (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Matt Smith with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

60:39

Danny Pugh (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

60:39

Foul by James Coppinger (Doncaster Rovers).

58:56

James Coppinger (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

58:56

Foul by Danny Pugh (Leeds United).

58:05 Booking

Booking Sam Byram (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

57:45

Billy Sharp (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:45

Foul by Sam Byram (Leeds United).

57:21

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by James Husband.

55:59

Attempt missed. David Cotterill (Doncaster Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by James Husband.

52:56

Offside, Leeds United. Alex Mowatt tries a through ball, but Ross McCormack is caught offside.

51:20

James Coppinger (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:20

Foul by Danny Pugh (Leeds United).

50:28

Attempt missed. Billy Sharp (Doncaster Rovers) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by David Cotterill with a cross following a set piece situation.

49:48

James Coppinger (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

49:48

Foul by Danny Pugh (Leeds United).

47:10

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by James Husband.

45:22

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Billy Sharp.

45:00

Second Half begins Leeds United 0, Doncaster Rovers 2.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Leeds United. Aidan White replaces Rodolph Austin.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Leeds United. Michael Tonge replaces Luke Murphy.

45:00 +4:11 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Leeds United 0, Doncaster Rovers 2.

45:00 +3:17

Attempt missed. Tom Lees (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Luke Murphy with a cross following a corner.

45:00 +3:05

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Chris Brown.

45:00 +2:40

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Paul Quinn.

45:00 +2:36

Attempt saved. Matt Smith (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cameron Stewart with a cross.

45:00 +0:50 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Leeds United 0, Doncaster Rovers 2. Billy Sharp (Doncaster Rovers) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

43:13

Chris Brown (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

43:13

Foul by Jason Pearce (Leeds United).

41:14 Booking

Booking Paul Keegan (Doncaster Rovers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

40:39

Foul by Paul Keegan (Doncaster Rovers).

40:39

Rodolph Austin (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

39:27

Paul Quinn (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

39:27

Foul by Ross McCormack (Leeds United).

38:37

Attempt blocked. Matt Smith (Leeds United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alex Mowatt.

37:16

Offside, Leeds United. Luke Murphy tries a through ball, but Ross McCormack is caught offside.

34:16

Attempt missed. Cameron Stewart (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Matt Smith with a headed pass.

33:24

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

32:43

Delay in match Chris Brown (Doncaster Rovers) because of an injury.

32:32

Attempt blocked. Ross McCormack (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

31:47 Booking

Booking Paul Quinn (Doncaster Rovers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

31:25

Foul by Paul Quinn (Doncaster Rovers).

31:25

Cameron Stewart (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

25:46

Foul by Lucas Neill (Doncaster Rovers).

25:46

Cameron Stewart (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

24:05 Booking

Booking Tom Lees (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

24:02

James Coppinger (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

24:02

Foul by Tom Lees (Leeds United).

22:21 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Leeds United 0, Doncaster Rovers 1. David Cotterill (Doncaster Rovers) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Richard Wellens following a corner.

21:48

Corner, Doncaster Rovers. Conceded by Jason Pearce.

21:20

Chris Brown (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

21:20

Foul by Tom Lees (Leeds United).

20:34

Attempt blocked. Luke Murphy (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

18:07

Offside, Leeds United. Jack Butland tries a through ball, but Matt Smith is caught offside.

17:43

Foul by Chris Brown (Doncaster Rovers).

17:43

Tom Lees (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:41

Foul by Richard Wellens (Doncaster Rovers).

14:41

Luke Murphy (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

13:56

Richard Wellens (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

13:56

Foul by Cameron Stewart (Leeds United).

13:15

Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Paul Quinn.

12:32

Offside, Doncaster Rovers. Sam Johnstone tries a through ball, but Chris Brown is caught offside.

10:07

Offside, Leeds United. Tom Lees tries a through ball, but Alex Mowatt is caught offside.

6:13

Paul Keegan (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

6:13

Foul by Luke Murphy (Leeds United).

5:48

Chris Brown (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

5:48

Foul by Tom Lees (Leeds United).

2:49

James Coppinger (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

2:49

Foul by Danny Pugh (Leeds United).

2:12

Offside, Leeds United. Jack Butland tries a through ball, but Ross McCormack is caught offside.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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