United victorious at Spotland...
ROCHDALE 0, UNITED 1 (Gradel 30)
Rochdale: Duke, Darby, Widdowson, Holness, Trotman, Jarrett, Kennedy, Jones, Tutte, Grimes, O'Grady. Subs: Wood, Adams, Gray, Akpa Akpro, Twaddle, Hackney, Doig.
United: Rachubka (Cairns 82), Connolly (L Turner 46), Bruce (Bromby 46), Lees, Parker (Samuel 46), A Trialist (Clayton 46), Brown (N Turner 69), Howson (Osbourne 61), Gradel (White 61), McCormack (Nunez 46), Paynter. Subs: Cairns.
Referee: Mr A Haines
See extended highlights on LUTV...
United manager Simon Grayson named three trialists in his squad at Rochdale, including former Aston Villa defender JLloyd Samuel, but Leeds were without the services of Paddy Kisnorbo, Robert Snodgrass, and Lloyd Sam, who took a knock against Motherwell last weekend.
It was Leeds who threatened first in the game and Ross McCormack, who had played the full 90 minutes at Motherwell, sent a shot skidding wide after Ben Parker surged forward.
The trialist in the starting XI also embarked on a lively run early on before his pass was blocked as he looked to thread the ball through to McCormack. He also forced Rochdale goalkeeper Matt Duke into a quick retreat when he sent over a looping cross from the right which was tipped over the bar.
And on 12 minutes, the lively winger teed up McCormack who was denied by a good save from Duke, who spread himself well.
At the other end, Rochdale capitalised after United lost possession in the middle of the park, but Chris O'Grady strayed offside before tucking the ball beyond Paul Rachubka.
The United goalkeeper did make a good save on 18 minutes when he palmed over a good strike from Andrew Tutte.
In keeping with the pre-season games so far, the heavens opened before the half-hour and rain swirled around the compact Spotland Stadium.
That grease may have played a part when Duke almost let a shot from Max Gradel slip through his hands after good work by the Ivorian. Moments later, Duke could do nothing, though, as Gradel drove a low shot past the keeper to make it 1-0 to Leeds.
United were dominating in terms of possession and were passing the ball around well. The trialist forced another corner which Gradel whipped in, but it was half-cleared by the home defence.
On the rare occasions Leeds lost the ball, Rochdale were waiting to pounce and Alex Bruce made a good tackle to avert one attack, before Rachubka pulled off another decent save from a shot just outside of the area.
That was the cue for the visitors to enjoy a decent little spell themselves that was ended when Jonny Howson broke up play in the Leeds area.
And United responded immediately with the right-wing trialist almost teeing up Billy Paynter for a second goal.
United boss Grayson made five changes at half-time with Samuel among the introductions, in place of Parker. Ramon Nunez also came on in a midfield role.
One of those changes, Leigh Bromby, headed a corner kick just wide after Samuel set Leeds on the attack following a good interception.
With an hour on the clock, Grayson made two further changes, trialist Osbourne coming on for Howson and Aidy White replacing Gradel.
United had switched to the 4-2-3-1 system which served Grayson well last term, Nunez, Clayton, and White in the midfield front three behind Paynter.
Nunez, who brought a save from Duke, again looked lively and he almost created an opening for Lewis Turner after a great run by the youngster.
As the game headed into the final quarter-hour, the Leeds fans shouted at 'ole' at every pass as United continued to look comfortable in possession and passed the ball around at will.
Alex Cairns was the final substitution of the night for United and, just as he did at Motherwell at the weekend, his first real involvement was to make a good save.
And that proved to be the final action of the game as United recorded a third straight pre-seasonb victory.