Rotherham match-winner Jonson Clarke-Harris could emerge as a major talent at the club, according to his manager Steve Evans after his side kept Leeds head coach Darko Milanic waiting for his first win in charge in a 2-1 derby triumph.
Clarke-Harris, 20, a club record £400,000 transfer deadline day signing from Oldham, smashed a swerving 25-yard shot beyond Leeds goalkeeper Marco Silvestri in the 65th minute, just two minutes after replacing Matt Derbyshire to clinch Rotherham a second win in eight league matches.
Millers striker Alex Revell had cancelled out Mirco Antenucci’s deserved opener for Leeds, but it was left to super-sub Clarke-Harris to steal the plaudits.
“People should remember his name, we think he is a special talent,” said Evans.
“We beat some big clubs in the Championship to get his services. He has got all the attributes in terms of physicality.
“He needs to be instilled with confidence every day and I will be the manager that gives him that.
“He really has every attribute. He is very talented, he is strong, but at times he has a schoolboy approach with his runs.
“We really think he could be a real find and talent, but we need to work with him.”
Leeds took the lead in the 30th minute through Italian striker Antenucci’s third goal for the club and deserved their half-time advantage having played the more cohesive football.
But Rotherham launched a barnstorming start to the second half to knock Leeds out of their stride and equalised when Revell hooked home his first goal of the season in the 58th minute.
Rotherham substitute Clarke-Harris smashed home his side’s winner two minutes after replacing Matt Derbyshire, a 25-yard rocket swerving away from Leeds goalkeeper Marco Silvestri in the 68th minute.
Leeds threatened to equalise on three occasions through substitute Adryan, but home goalkeeper Adam Collin made fine saves to thwart the impressive Brazilian and also Antenucci as Rotherham held on.
“It was a hard-earned victory against a football club I have got enormous respect for,” Evans added.
“We beat a football club with a tremendous history but tonight was our night.
“We were disappointed to be behind at half-time. We made the change and second half we played more like we can play.
“A terrific night for the football club and a hard-earned win that we deserved.”
Milanic did his best to hide his frustration after his winless run in England was extended to four matches as Leeds failed to match Rotherham’s tenacious effort after the break.
“We were playing well and controlled the game,” the Slovenian said. “We scored the goal we had some good counter-attacks, but in the last few minutes of the first half they began with long balls and crosses from all areas.
“They made a lot of pressure and although we were prepared for it in the second half we made two mistakes and they scored.
“We had some problem in midfield from the pressure from them, but we made some good moves in the second half and their goalkeeper made some good saves.”