DONCASTER 1 (Hayter 47), UNITED 0
Doncaster: Sullivan, O'Connor, Mills, Hird, Gareth Roberts, Green, Stock, Wellens (McCammon 72), Coppinger (Guy 86), Price (Lockwood 80), Hayter. Subs: Smith, Taylor.
United: Ankergren, Richardson, Michalik, Huntington, Johnson, Kilkenny, Howson, Douglas, Prutton (Kandol 69), Beckford, Freedman (Hughes 78). Subs: Lucas, Marques, Sheehan..
Referee: A D'Urso
Bookings: Mills, Sullivan (Doncaster), Prutton, Howson (United)
Gary McAllister named an unchanged side for the League One Play-Off final clash as his Leeds United players were within 90 minutes of securing the most extraordinary promotion ever.
Having started 15 points behind the rest, Leeds were just one win away from returning the Coca-Cola Championship, and Wembley was packed to the rafters with United fans for the clash with Doncaster.
The club had sold its allocation of over 36,000, but with many more Leeds fans expected, the Football League were anticipating a record crowd for a League One Play-Off final.
And, with such superb backing, United threatened first and after winning early corner Bradley Johnson was the first to take a shot at goal when he tried his luck from distance.
Doncaster also had an early raid, Jason Price seeing a shot deflected to safety after a good cross from the right. Ritchie Wellens also fired into the side netting on seven minutes after cutting in from the left.
Paul Huntington and Bradley Johnson made some timely blocks inside the first 10 minutes and Casper Ankergren also reacted well to make two tremendous blocks to first deny James Coppinger then Wellens.
Both players were clean through, but Ankergren came racing off his line to win the ball on both occasions.
As the game reached the quarter-hour mark, Doncaster defender Matt Mills became the first to earn the wrath of the referee when he was booked for a foul on Jermaine Beckford. Moments later, Beckford had an opportunity, though, when he fired straight at Neil Sullivan after Sam Hird gave him the ball.
United's David Prutton was next to go in the book when he saw yellow for a challenge on Wellens.
It had taken United a while to settle after Doncaster's early bluster, but the game had settled down by the half-hour with a real battle threatening to develop, and on 32 minutes Sullivan was called upon to save from Beckford after some good link-up play with Johnson.
Beckford also curled a shot wide on 35 minutes after Jonny Howson won possession midway in the Doncaster half. Rovers' response came with their first real attack since their opening salvo, and James Hayer scooped a shot over the top on 42 minutes.
Moments later, when Doncaster threatened again, Ankergren cleared from Hayter and Paul Green had a shot deflected wide from the resultant corner.
But it was United who went close just 90 seconds before the break, Howson curling a shot just inches over the top.
Doncaster threatened first in the second period, though, and and Hayter headed the south Yorkshire side into the lead after less than two minutes. He arrived late to meet a Brian Stock corner and headed beyond the reach of Ankergren.
United came straight back at Doncaster and Sullivan got down well to deny Beckford with a low shot from just inside of the box. Jonny Howson also had a shot deflected over the top when United threatened again on 58 minutes.
Prutton did find the net, following the resultant corner, but referee Andy D'Urso had blown his whistle to halt play with Jason Price lying on the deck after a 50/50 challenge with Beckford. Prutton was also involved, along with Dougie Freedman, when Beckford fired at Sullivan on the hour-mark.
Doncaster defended in more numbers and looked solid - Johnson fired over the top from distance for Leeds - and with just 21 minutes remaining, McAllister introduced Tresor Kandol to proceedings as United looked to force a way back.
Yet Rovers threatened again on 70 minutes and it took some good work by Douglas and Ankergren to prevent a good scoring opportunity. Six minutes later, Freedman sent a shot skidding wide of the mark before he was replaced by Andrew Hughes for the closing stages.
Doncaster continued to look solid, though, and as the clock ticked down the pressure mounted for a United side who were desperate looking for a way back. That moment almost came in the 86th minute when along throw fell to Jonthan Douglas, but his shot was wide of the mark.
Leeds have made a habit of late goals this season and how they needed another one as the game ticked towards the final minute.
Four minutes of added time gave hope of one final push to keep the season alive, but there was no way back, and it was Doncaster who were celebrating while United were left contemplating another year in League One.