Substitute Bobby Zamora snatches it at Elland Road...
UNITED 1 (Cooper 23), BRIGHTON 2 (March 14, Zamora 89)
United team: Silvestri, Wootton, Cooper, Bamba, Berardi, Adeyemi, Cook, Mowatt (Antenucci 67), Botaka (Byram 78), Dallas (Buckley 62), Wood. Subs: Horton, Bellusci, Phillips, Murphy.
Brighton team: Stockdale, Bruno, Greer (Huenemeier 40), Dunk, Bong; Rosenior (Crofts 60), Kayal, Stephens, March; Baldock, Hemed (Zamora 77). Subs: Maenpaa, Calderon, Ince, Manu.
Referee: D Deadman
Booked: Bruno, Bong (Brighton)
Att: 22,736 (940 Brighton)
Championship football returned to Elland Road following the two-week international break, with league leaders Brighton & Hove Albion the visitors on United's 96th birthday.
Head coach Uwe Rosler made three changes from the home defeat to Birmingham City a fortnight earlier, including handing a first home start to Jordan Botaka in place of on-loan winger Will Buckley. The previously ever-present Charlie Taylor made way for Scott Wootton in defence due to illness, and Tom Adeyemi came into midfield for Luke Murphy.
United, chasing their first home win of the season, looked to start on the front foot as Lewis Cook drove the team forward from midfield in search of an early way through.
That was without a sight on goal, though, and Brighton managed to open the scoring with their first attack of the afternoon, Solly March drilling into the bottom corner on 14 minutes after finding space inside United’s penalty area.
Leeds looked to mount a quick response, with Dallas’ dangerous low cross just stolen from the toes of Chris Wood inside the area, before the equaliser did come just seven minutes after going behind.
A brilliant free-kick from deep by Alex Mowatt was met inside the area by the arriving Liam Cooper, who glanced a header beyond the helpless David Stockdale to level proceedings with his first goal of the campaign.
At the opposite end, Marco Silvestri was called upon to clutch Dale Stephens’ low effort, but a much-improved United were soon pushing for a second goal, with Rosler’s high-pressing game evident as soon as Brighton picked up the ball inside their own half.
And United could have taken the lead on 32 minutes following another inch-perfect set-piece delivery from Mowatt after Tom Adeyemi was tripped on the edge of the area. Mowatt’s cross found Wood arriving unmarked inside the area, but the striker could only turn his header wide from close-range.
Mowatt then threatened himself, latching onto a loose ball and firing into Stockdale’s arms after letting fly from 25 yards out.
Tomer Hemed lofted an attempt over Silvestri’s bar for the visitors, but Leeds had looked to most likely to go in front as the half-time whistle drew an appreciative applause from the home crowd.
United made a lively start to the second period and Wood was again left with his head in his hands after a cleared corner ricocheted against him and over the bar from just a couple of yards out.
Backed by the home crowd, United were growing in confidence and putting Chris Hughton’s side under some sustained pressure.
Only the woodwork denied them a second goal on 55 minutes as Mowatt charged down the hesitant Stockdale’s goalkick and saw it clip the post on its way behind.
Rosler was prompted into his first substitution just after the hour mark, introducing Buckley against his former club in place of Dallas on the wing.
But Brighton, against the run of play, then had their first sight of goal of the second half as their goalscorer March cut inside from the right before lashing a strike against Silvestri’s crossbar.
Another United change saw Mirco Antenucci replace Mowatt, but the Seagulls were starting to see more of the ball after riding out United’s period of domination. Chances on goal remained scarce, though, as a fine interception from Cooper denied Sam Baldock the chance to go into the area.
Sam Byram also entered the fray, replacing Botaka for the last 10 minutes, but United were reduced to 10 men for the final five as Cooper limped off through injury.
And Brighton were able to take advantage of the extra man with one minute remaining on the clock, substitute Bobby Zamora lofting the ball over Silvestri to deliver a cruel blow right at the death and seal the three points for the visitors.