By Tim Hodges
Leeds United 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 1
Gus Poyet preferred Peter Brezovan to Michel Kuipers and Gary Dicker to Chris Holroyd, for Albion’s trip to second place, but recently stuttering Leeds.
The home side had a majority of the initial possession, but even with League 1 superstars such as Jermaine Beckford and Gary Mcsheffrey were unable to do much to convert it into worthwhile chances.
Albion seemed content to try and contain and frustrate as the half wore on, a five man midfield and Calderon’s obvious instructions to mark Beckford over every blade of grass, appeared to be leaning towards a counter attacking offensive from the seagulls.
Johnson and Howson both had fair chances for Leeds around the half hour mark, but Brezovan didn’t get his gloves dirty until just before half time. When saving from Mcsheffrey.
Apart from a couple of punts goal wards from midfield, Albion hardly troubled Leeds keeper Ankergren .
In the second half, it was soon obvious that the containment part of the exercise had affected Leeds, as the Albion developed a more attacking stance.
Gary Dicker fired just over, after Albion had won a corner. Soon after Beckford got free of Calderon’s shackles, but failed to convert Johnson’s cross.
The first and second half’s were incomparable and Albion were beginning to shade the possession ,now Hart replaced Bennett and LuaLua was beginning to give the Leeds defence a torrid time. Murray and Crofts both had chances, although substitute Gradel should have scored, as now it was the home side restricted to counter attacking.
With play now heavily condensed in midfield Navarro and Crofts combined to send Murray towards goal. Kisnorbo made a clumsy challenge and the Albion were presented with a penalty. Murray stepped forward and expertly despatched the spot kick, to give Albion the lead.
Leeds wary at second home defeat in four days would displease their infamous fans, reacted with great urgency. All of a sudden challenges were flying in all over the pitch. Both Hart and Murray were defending deep with good effect. Albion seemed to abandon any type of attacking notion.
Brevovan was commanding his area well. As Leeds heaped on the pressure Adam Virgo was a little over enthusiastic with a challenge on substitute Gradel . Sadly not for the first time this season Albion’s local hero was shown a straight red card. El Abd replaced LuaLua to help shore up the now depleted defence.
Leeds then threw all they had at Albion with a front line of at least five. Becchio and Kisnorbo both should have scored.
Just when the Albion appeared to have done enough under intense Leeds pressure, Naylor flicked on a corner for Snodgrass to smash the ball home in almost the 96th minute.
Virgo, Painter, Calderon, Elphick
Dicker, Crofts, Navarro, Bennett, LuaLua
Subs: Kuipers, El-Abd, Forster, Hart, Carole, Hoyte, Holroyd
Lowry, Kisnorbo, Naylor
Johnson, Kilkenny, Howson, McSheffrey, Hughes, Doyle,
Subs: Martin, Grella, Bronby, White ,Gradel, Becchio, Snodgrass
Referee – C Boyeson
Attendance – 24,120