The new signing from Manchester United saved Leeds initially with his first touch as he cleared a goalbound Richie Wellens shot off the line in the opening minute with goalkeeper Paddy Kenny beaten.
But it was at the other end that he made an even more memorable impact as he headed United ahead off the underside of the crossbar in the 41st minute after Matt Smith had headed down a left wing cross from another impressive Leeds debutant, midfielder Alex Mowatt.
The Whites were good value for their interval lead, although Rovers started brightly with midfielder Wellens behind all their best moves. After seeing his first minute effort cleared he got forward again only to send in a weak shot through a crowded box straight to Kenny.
Leeds gradually settled into the contest and had their own danger man in tall striker Smith who won some good headers despite coming up against the equally tall centre-back, Rob Jones.
Ross McCormack had their first real chance only to send his shot well over after home keeper Ross Turnbull had punched the ball weakly to him on the edge of the area.
Turnbull saved comfortably twice from Smith headers while McCormack saw a shot deflected wide after latching onto Dominic Poleon’s crossfield pass.
At the other end, Jamie Coppinger saw a header saved by Kenny, but Leeds were getting on top and Lee Peltier should have done better than blast the ball over after another great Smith knock down from Adam Drury’s cross.
It was no surprise when United went ahead through the same left wing route, with this time teenage midfielder Mowatt providing the cross and Wootton getting on the end of Smith’s strong aerial work to net from close range.
Doncaster could have replied instantly, but Theo Robinson miskicked when well placed in the box to meet Chris Brown’s pull back.
Leeds had the last chance of the half when Poleon turned smartly just inside the box only to pull his shot wide.
They carried on where they left off in the second half as McCormack was denied by Turnbull then Poleon saw a shot deflected into the side netting and Smith went close twice.
But against the run of play it was Doncaster who scored as former Leeds striker Billy Paynter, who had only just come on as substitute, netted with his first touch, heading home David Cotterill’s cross at the near post.
Smith came close to responding instantly for United with a powerfully hit volley on the turn that was saved by Turnbull, but it was more even now and Brown sent a shot inches over for Rovers.
Leeds remained a threat and went back ahead on 77 minutes when Smith got the goal his performance deserved with a powerful header from a right wing cross by Peltier.
They struck again within three minutes after Poleon bamboozled Rovers right-back Reece Wabara, who brought the Leeds man down just inside box. A penalty was the result and up stepped McCormack to send Turnbull the wrong way and make it 3-1.
It was game over and the final score was no more than Leeds deserved after their best all-round display of the season so far.
Manager Brian McDermott was given plenty of food for thought in his selection for Saturday’s return to league action against QPR with impressive debuts by Wootton and Mowatt and a fine display up front by Smith in particular.
(Wootton 41, Smith 77, McCormack 80, pen)
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Capital One Cup, round two
Doncaster: Turnbull, Wabara, Jones, Khumalo, Husband, Coppinger (Duffy 45), Wellens, Furman (Forrester 84), Cotterill, Robinson (Paynter 60), Brown.
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Pearce, Wootton, Drury, Tonge, Austin, Mowatt (Murphy 75), McCormack, Poleon, Smith.
Referee: Scott Matthieson.