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Rodolph Austin catches the eye as Leeds United cruise into third round
6:00am Wednesday 29th August 2012 in Leeds
Leeds United 3 Oxford United 0
Leeds manager Neil Warnock lauded the performance of Rodolph Austin, who has quickly won the hearts of fans since his summer move from Norwegian side SK Brann.
And the classy Jamaican international midfielder’s scorching first goal for the club sent Oxford on the way to their first defeat of the season and out of the Capital One Cup.
Austin, whose mentor at Brann was former Leeds midfielder Eirik Bakke, created chances and put in a lung-bursting stint, striking the bar with a second-half pile-driver from distance as Leeds won 3-0.
Keen to take a good look at some of his fringe players, Warnock made six changes from the side which won at Peterborough, including first starts for former Portsmouth keeper Jamie Ashdown and striker Andy Gray, in his second spell at the club, while defender Patrick Kisnorbo made his first start since January.
Yet it was Austin, 27, and teenager Sam Byram who took the eye, Byram netting a delightful 34th-minute goal as he nipped between Sean McGinty and Jake Wright before Austin lobbed keeper Ryan Clarke for the first Leeds goal of his career.
El-Hadji Diouf crossed for Tom Lees to head Leeds’ third in the 74th minute as they won at a canter.
Warnock said: “You won’t see two better goals than the two in the first half. Sam will probably never score another goal like that in his career, though Rodolph probably will! I was pleased for Tom Lees that he scored too.
“It is a gamble when you make six changes. I wanted to rest (strikers) Luciano Becchio and Ross McCormack because we have an important game against Blackburn on Saturday and I am really looking forward to that.”
High on confidence after their 100 per cent start to the season, Chris Wilder’s Oxford showed no sign of an inferiority complex until Austin’s 26th-minute strike which had too much pace for Clarke.
Passing the ball with a pace and precision that belied their League Two status, they also made their tackles count.
Alfie Potter made some darting runs, but Leeds’ defence was rarely extended.
Wilder said: “We started the game very well and looked in no danger for the first 20 or 25 minutes. We had two or three half-chances and if we had scored then it might have been a different game. When the first goal went in they took charge.
“We needed a lot to go for us to get a result but we fell a bit short.
“Their quality and ours in the final third was a class apart. We wanted to keep possession and frustrate them and we did that early on.
“This is the first time this season we have been up against it but the players can be proud of their efforts. They stood up to the challenge and tried to keep playing.”