By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Leeds United 0
The Albion beat Leeds United to move to within a point of the Championship play-off places.
That man from Argentina, Leo Ulloa, scored Albion’s winner after 64 minutes.
The game set off a frantic pace with Solly March again instrumental for Albion. But again, for all their early possession, the Seagulls still showed no real potency in front of goal.
The best early chance for the home side was a shot that Ulloa hit into the side netting.
Rohan Ince was again bossing the midfield. At times the youngster was covering the full back and centre half possession as well as winning the midfield battle and intercepting Leeds’ attempts to attack.
It was end to end stuff. As Albion began to run out of ideas, Leeds built patiently and tried to channel the ball down the flanks for Ross McCormack and Randolph Austin.
Matt Upson was strong for Albion, making timely interceptions and reading Leeds’ attacking ideas very well. Upson seems to thrive on having Inigo Caldron at left back, Calderon having replaced the injured Bruno Saltor.
Despite early promise the game became a little scrappy as it moved towards half time, although Leeds went into the interval the stronger after forcing a few corners that encouraged Albion to dig in and defend.
Leeds began the second half brighter than the Albion in terms of possession but failed to cause Tomasz Kuszczak any real problems.
The game-changing moment was the introduction of Kazenga LuaLua for David Rodriguez.
LuaLua immediately caused Leeds problems and at times three defenders tried to block his path.
Less than 10 minutes after his introduction Albion’s former Newcastle winger found space to get a cross into the centre of the penalty area, Ulloa had time to control the ball and place a shot past the almost stationary Paddy Kenny to put Albion in front.
Albion and LuaLua quickly tried to find a second but Kenny got down well to his shot.
When Will Buckley was introduced for March Albion really stretched Leeds for possession and pace.
Despite Leeds bringing on target man Matt Smith before the end, they never caused Albion that many problems.
Kuszczak was equal to most efforts easily and, with Ince finding space to stride the middle, the Seagulls looked comfortable and saw out the vital win, which moves them back up to 7th place.
The Albion take on Hull in the FA Cup 5th round next Monday evening (17 February) but will appear in the 6th round draw on Sunday for only the fourth time in 113 years.
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