First half goals from Chis Wood and Souleymane Doukara sealed a victory that looked comfortable until Rotherham pulled a goal back late on through Richard Wood and then threw the kitchen sink at the visitors in injury-time.
Rotherham played an hour with 10 men after Peter Odemwingie was sent-off so could take great credit for making such a game of it at the end, although Leeds were in control for much of the contest.
Leeds went ahead from their first serious attack on 14 minutes when Charlie Taylor made a great run down the left, got in the box and pulled a low ball across perfectly for Chris Wood to calmly score his 12th goal of the season.
They should have doubled the lead almost immediately as Liam Cooper, back in the side for the suspended Pontus Janssen, was left unmarked from a Kalvin Phillips corner, but sent his header inches wide.
Home keeper Lee Camp was out smartly to save at the feet of the also recalled Hadi Sacko, but injured himself in the process and was one of two Millers players to have to leave the field in the opening half - midfielder Greg Halford being the other in the fourth minute.
The long injury delays seemed to affect the game as it lacked excitement for much of the rest of the half, although Peter Odemwingie livened proceedings up somewhat with a totally unnecessary elbow on Cooper that earned the home player an instant red card - the third time in a row in a league game between the two teams that a Rotherham player had been sent-off.
With 11 men Rotherham took 27 minutes for their first a shot, a snap effort by Danny Ward that went well wide, and with a man short they struggled to get into the game before the break with Leeds keeper Rob Green untroubled in the first 45 minutes.
Leeds did not make their extra man tell initially, although Phillips and Souleymane Doukara tried their luck from distance.
They began to get on top as the half entered seven minutes of added time and Doukara saw a volley well blocked after he met Sacko’s far post cross.
It was Doukara again in the action as he got on the end of a Kemar Roofe pass into the box and he supplied a smart finish into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-0 at half-time.
Leeds started the second half well with Sacko hitting a screamer from the edge of the box that flashed just wide.
Phillips was then also close with an effort from the edge of the box as he found space on the end of a smart break, although he did have men over if he has chosen to pass.
Sacko raced onto the end of a pass over the top by Eunan O’Kane, but sub keeper Lewis Price was out to save at his feet.
Leeds had a big shout for a penalty denied by referee Stuart Attwell as Roofe went down after appearing to be tugged back by Stephen Kelly.
They also created another chance when Kyle Bartley met as Phillips corner, but Price was able to save comfortably.
The game went into another lull before Wood sent a header wide from a fine cross by substitute Stuart Dallas.
Rotherham, who were chasing shadows for most of the half but kept going, finally managed another shot in the 78th minute when Ward curled a free-kick inches wide with Green rooted to his spot.
They showed good spirit, though, and Will Vaulks saw a shot from the edge of the box deflected over.
A minute later they pulled a goal back when the ball was headed on into the Leeds box and Richard Wood’s header went into the net with Green unable to keep it out despite getting a hand to the ball.
Within seconds Leeds had a chance as Phillips saw his shot well blocked, but Rotherham were not done as Green had to save from Vaulks then in an almighty scramble the ball could not be cleared and Dominic Ball somehow fired over from five yards out.
Leeds survived, but in the last seconds needed a good header by Phillips to clear a dangerous Izzy Brown cross.
It was an off finish to an odd game, but Leeds will be happy to have won on a ground they had not been successful at before.
Rotherham United 1
Leeds United 2
(Wood 14, Doukara 45+7)
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Rotherham: Camp (Price 35), Kelly, Wood, Ball, Fisher, Halford (Vaulks 4), Brown, Adeyemi, Newell (Forde 76), Odemwingie (sent-off 29), Ward.
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Cooper, Taylor, O’Kane, Phillips, Roofe (Antonsson 73), Sacko (Berardi 90), Doukara (Dallas 63), Wood.
Referee: Stuart Attwell.