Leeds suffer 4-0 defeat at the Amex Stadium...
BRIGHTON 4 (Hemed pen 18, 28, Cooper og 22, Dunk 38), UNITED 0
Brighton team: Stockdale, Bruno, Dunk, Goldson, Rosenior, Knockaert, Stephens, Kayal (Sidwell 77), Murphy, Hemed (Wilson 77), Baldock (Skalak 74). Subs: Maenpaa, Greer, Calderon, Zamora.
United team: Silvestri, Wootton (Carayol 45), Cooper, Bamba, Taylor, Coyle, Diagouraga (Murphy 84), Bridcutt, Mowatt, Cook, Doukara (Erwin 75). Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Berardi, Adeyemi, Antenucci.
Referee: Peter Bankes
Booked: Rosenior, Baldock, Goldson (Brighton), Bamba, Mowatt, Coyle, Taylor (United)
Att: 25,150 (1,522 United)
The televised trip to promotion-chasing Brighton & Hove Albion saw United head coach Steve Evans make two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at home to Fulham six nights earlier. Scott Wootton and Liam Bridcutt returned to the starting line-up at the Amex Stadium, with Tom Adeyemi and Mirco Antenucci dropping to the bench, while Mustapha Carayol also took up a place among the substitutes as Stuart Dallas missed out through injury.
There was little between the two sides during the early exchanges, with both teams forced to be patient in their build-up play, until the hosts were presented with an opportunity to open the scoring from the penalty spot after 18 minutes after Wootton was adjudged to have fouled Liam Rosenior inside the area.
Tomer Hemed calmly converted and Brighton soon found themselves in the ascendancy, with Marco Silvestri needing to be at full-stretch to push away a low free-kick just two minutes later.
But Albion’s advantage was soon doubled as Sam Baldock burst through the middle of the United defence before seeing his effort deflect beyond the sprawling Silvestri on 22 minutes.
Leeds looked to mount a quick response, with Soulyemane Doukara and Toumani Diagouraga both lashing wide from the edge of the area, before Brighton extended their lead through Hemed’s second of the evening – a low 28th-minute finish from inside the area.
And things were to go from bad to worse after 38 minutes as Lewis Dunk rose inside the area to tower home Dale Stephens’ back-post corner to make it four and cap an utterly miserable first half for United.
Evans was prompted into an attack-minded change at the break, replacing Wootton with Carayol and moving youngster Lewie Coyle back to right-back.
But Brighton, who re-emerged unchanged, were looking to pick up from where they left off prior to the interval and Dale Stephens flicked a low cross wide of the far post within two minutes of the restart.
Leeds were starting to see more of the ball, though, and went in search of a goal which would help to restore some pride in front of the travelling supporters.
Alex Mowatt came the closest, with his curling free-kick deflected onto the roof of the Brighton net before the midfielder burst into the area after latching onto Carayol’s through ball, only to blaze the strike well over the crossbar.
Coyle also threatened after a determined run down the left, hitting a left-footed volley narrowly wide after his initial strike rebounded back into his path, while Lee Erwin was introduced in attack as United continued to search for a late consolation goal.
But it was to no avail and Brighton could have added a fifth themselves in the closing stages as substitute Jiri Skalak rounded Silvestri after being played through on goal, but Sol Bamba muscled in to avert the danger as the hosts’ four first-half goals were left to stand alone.