Leeds United 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 2: Zamora condemns Whites to record-breaking home low

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BOBBY ZAMORA struck an 89th-minute winner as Championship leaders Brighton nicked a 2-1 victory at Elland Road to condemn Leeds United to record-breaking misery at home.

Brighton took a 14th-minute lead when their first foray into United’s half was clinically finished by Solly March but Leeds levelled eight minutes later when Liam Cooper headed home Alex Mowatt’s curling free-kick.

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But with United having used all three subs, Cooper went down in agony with five minutes left and Brighton made the numerical advantage count when Zamora chipped home a deadly winner with a minute to go.

The defeat set an unwanted new club record of 11 consecutive Elland Road games without a home victory as Leeds also fell to their third loss at home in a row and dropped down to 18th.

Whites head coach Uwe Rosler made three changes to the team that lost at home to Birmingham yet opted to stick with the same 4-3-3 system which in reality is a 4-5-1.

And the most notable change came in defence with Charlie Taylor missing his first game of the season through a virus and replaced by Scott Wootton.

Wootton was preferred to Sam Byram at right back with Gaetano Berardi shifting to left back.

On the wing, Jordan Botaka came in to make his full home debut in place of Sunderland loanee Will Buckley who dropped to the bench with Stuart Dallas deemed fit enough to start after international duty on the opposite flank.

Tom Adeyemi also came in for Luke Murphy as part of a three-man central midfield that also included Mowatt and Lewis Cook who had clearly shaken off his knock to the shoulder that he picked up with England Under-19s.

Chris Wood started in a lone striker role with Mirco Antenucci again having to settle for a place on the bench where young ‘keeper Charlie Horton appeared for the first time in place of Ross Turnbull who has broken his ankle.

Cooper again partnered captain Sol Bamba at centre-back and Leeds began brightly with Cook dancing into the Brighton area before danger was averted when a Dallas cross was collected by David Stockdale.

A Gordon Greer mistake in midfield then presented Leeds with a possible opening but Dallas overran his touch and the chance was cleared.

The ever impressive Cook again then produced another fantastic run through the Brighton midfield before finding Wood who was through on goal but offside.

Then, a Botaka step over trick then got the Elland Road crowd going but just two minutes later Brighton were in front after their very first foray into United’s half a minute shy of the quarter hour mark.

From nothing, Beram Kayal won the ball in midfield and produced a cutting pass for March who raced away from Wootton before easily firing past Marco Silvestri into the bottom right corner.

Leeds attempted to hit back with another right flank attack as a dangerous Dallas cross almost found Wood but the ball was cleared for a corner which came to nothing.

But United soon got the equaliser they longed for when presented with a 22nd-minute free-kick on the right wing.

This time Mowatt’s delivery was spot on and Cooper rose highest to flick the ball past Stockdale and level the scores to the delight of the Elland Road crowd.

Brighton, you sensed, could be there for the taking but just a minute later the Seagulls countered with the ball fed to Dale Stephens who forced a solid save from Silvestri from 15 yards.

The visitors then broke through Kayal who blazed over from range but just after the half hour mark Leeds went so close to taking the lead.

Another right flank free-kick was left to Mowatt who produced a peach of a delivery that Wood ran on to but his powerful free header went just wide of the right-hand post.

Wood put his head in his hands in frustration but Elland Road was suddenly rocking though Brighton hit back by forcing a 35th-minute corner which ended with Sam Baldock scooping the ball over the bar.

And Brighton were then dealt a blow when injured captain Greer - who it must be said was having a poor game anyway - had to be subbed for Uwe Hunemeier five minutes before the break.

Botaka then cut inside for Leeds and had a pop from about 35 yards that sailed over while at the other end Wootton’s tackle forced a Brighton corner that was cleared.

And the half ended with Cook found in space on the right flank but the talented teenager opted not to run at the Brighton defence and danger was soon averted.

There were no changes at half-time and Brighton began the second half the brighter, forcing three corners which were all cleared, the first after March’s shot was turned onto the side netting by Silvestri.

But Leeds then broke to force a corner of their own which caused an outbreak of pinball in the Brighton box with the ball ultimately falling to Wood who somehow shot just over from about two yards.

Then, five minutes later, Stockdale took an age to kick a clearance which was charged down by a closing Mowatt with the ball smashing into the midfielder and zipping just wide of the left hand post.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton reacted by withdrawing Liam Rosenior for Andrew Crofts on the hour mark, after which Rosler introduced Will Buckley for Dallas who left to a big applause.

But Brighton then twice went agonisingly close to taking the lead when first March cut inside after a jinking run and thundered an effort against the crossbar with a subsequent Baldock effort cleared for a corner.

From that corner, Tomer Hemed attempted to poke the ball in with a back-heel from close range but Silvestri somehow cleared off the line.

Brighton were suddenly turning the screw and Rosler reacted by bringing on Antenucci for Mowatt and switching to a 4-4-2.

But Brighton continued to threaten and a superb tackle from Cooper was needed to dispossess Baldock inside the Leeds area.

Crucially, both coaches then made their final change with Zamora replacing Hemed and Sam Byram brought on for Botaka who left to a standing ovation and applause.

The game was waiting to be won by a moment of magic but an 81st-minute Cook free-kick was curled wide of the right hand post.

And Leeds were then dealt what proved a game-changing blow with five minutes remaining when Cooper went down in agony after a challenge and was unable to continue.

Having used all three subs, the Whites were down to ten men as Wootton stepped into centre-back with Byram at right back.

And Brighton immediately made that extra man count with Gaetan Bong slipping in Zamora who produced a deadly lob over Silvestri to make it 2-1 with a minute to go.

Leeds were given five minutes of injury time to try and salvage something but a Cook free-kick only ended with Brighton racing away through Baldock who was one-on-one at an angle but denied by Silvestri.

But the damage had already been done through Zamora and a game that United really should have won ended instead with yet another away win.

We have heard that too many times before.

Leeds United: Silvestri, Wootton, Cooper, Bamba, Berardi, Adeyemi, Cook, Mowatt (Antenucci 67), Botaka (Byram 78), Dallas (Buckley 62), Wood. Subs not used: Horton, Bellusci, Phillips, Murphy, Buckley, Antenucci.

Brighton: Stockdale, Bruno, Greer (Hunemeier 40), Dunk, Bong; Rosenior (Crofts 60), Kayal, Stephens, March; Baldock, Hemed (Zamora 77). Subs not used: Maenpaa, Calderon, Ince, Manu.

Referee: Darren Deadman.

Attendance: 22,736.

Luke Ayling.

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