REPORT: LEEDS 1 ALBION 2
- Bobby Zamora scores 89th-minute winner
- Albion now four points clear at top of Championship
- Solly March opened scoring for Seagulls
- Liam Cooper levelled for hosts
Baldock might have put gloss on the result as he raced through on goal only for Silvestri to save, but it didn’t matter, as Albion extended their lead at the top to four points and ended a 20-game winless streak in October.
And how ruthless Albion were. With a minute remaining Gaetan Bong slipped a lovely reverse pass into Zamora, who calmly clipped the ball over the on-rushing Silvestri to send the travelling Brighton fans into raptures.
Former Albion favourite Will Buckley made a substitute appearance – and received a thumping welcome from Bruno for his troubles – before Leeds went down to ten men when Cooper limped off with no more replacements remaining.
The switch gave Albion new impetus and they soon enjoyed a flurry of chances. First March, now playing on the right, cut inside and hammered a shot off the bar; Crofts saw his first-time shot deflected behind, and from the resulting corner, Hemed back-heeled from close-range and was denied by the legs of Silvestri on the line.
Sensing his team couldn’t repel the onslaught much longer, Hughton introduced Andrew Crofts for his long-awaited return from injury, and changed to a 4-3-3 system.
Leeds’ relentless pressure almost bore fruit again, this time when Mowatt charged down Stockdale’s clearance only to see the ricochet clip the outside of the post.
Wood had another golden opportunity to score against his former employers shortly after half-time, but when the ball fell invitingly to him following a spot of pinball, the striker hooked his effort wildly over the bar.
Recognising how successful it had been for Cooper, Leeds ran the same identical training ground move with Mowatt this time picking out Chris Wood’s perfect run, but to Albion’s relief the former Seagulls striker headed wide of the mark.
Uwe Rosler had his players fully fired up and pressing Albion at every opportunity and it was proving extremely effective. Leeds won another free-kick in a similar position to that which had proved so fruitful earlier on, right on the edge of Albion’s penalty area.
The game was now being played at full tilt. Sam Baldock picked out Liam Rosenior on the far side with a searching cross and his lay-off set up the in-form Dale Stephens, but this time the midfielder couldn’t get enough on his shot and Silvestri saved with ease.
But it wasn’t long before the Elland Road faithful were on their feet as Cooper produced a glancing header to help Alex Mowatt’s inswinging free-kick into the far corner past a helpless David Stockdale to level matters.
Beram Kayal threaded an inch-perfect ball inside the full-back for March to run onto, and having taken a touch to steady himself, the winger drilled the ball low past Marco Silvestri on the angle to open his account for the season.
Leeds supporters have had little cheer recently at this famous old ground; their last victory at home came back in March, and Albion heaped on the misery when after just 14 minutes March put the league leaders ahead.
Liam Cooper had earlier cancelled out Solly March’s opener, but Zamora’s 89th minute winner ensured all three points for Chris Hughton’s men.