Brighton 2 Leeds United 1: Hart's late goal leaves Leeds on south coast rocks

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The Independent Football

It is one of football's enduring mysteries. Every club has a team against whom they regularly come unstuck for no logical reason.

The bogey team for Leeds is Brighton. The Yorkshire club have failed to get the better of the south coast strugglers in four attempts in the Championship, despite overwhelming financial advantages.

Leeds were beaten for the second season running at Withdean, the converted athletics stadium acting as Brighton's temporary home.

They lost two players last time, with Paul Butler and Matthew Kilgallon given red cards. This time, even with the referee on their side, they conceded two goals, leaving manager Kevin Blackwell red with anger.

"I'm not pleased that we lost, that's for sure," said the former goalkeeper trying to guide Leeds back into the Premiership. "To be fair to Brighton they turned it into something of a cup tie. It was a physical encounter and they really disrupted our pattern of play. We lacked that bit of quality in the final third that I felt would have been a difference." Blackwell started with two £1m-plus strikers in Robbie Blake and Richard Cresswell and brought on two more in the final quarter, David Healy and Rob Hulse.

But Brighton's Gary Hart, signed from Stansted eight years ago for £1,000 and the price of a kit, upstaged them all with a late winner.

Fittingly, Brighton's man from Down Under was the central figure in turning the form book upside down. The Sydney-born midfielder Paul Reid set Brighton on their way to ending their four-match losing streak and Leeds' four-game winning run in the 10th minute, glancing in a low cross from French winger Alex Frutos at the near post.

Leeds required a generous gesture from Andy D'Urso to restore parity. The Premiership referee surprised everyone by pointing to the spot in the 38th minute when Eddie Lewis fell easily as Reid shielded a cross.

Blake converted the penalty via a post but the Leeds victory most people were anticipating became an unexpected defeat 10 minutes from time.

Hart, playing up front where he began his Brighton career after spells on the right wing and at right-back, met Reid's cross to the near post with a first-time shot into the roof of the net.

Reid, hoping for a late call into Australia's World Cup squad said: "It's a massive result to come back from four straight defeats. Leeds seem to be a team we like playing against. We go to Sheffield United now and we beat them away last year.'' Perhaps it's something in the Yorkshire air.

Goals: Reid (10) 1-0; Blake pen (38) 1-1, Hart (80) 2-1.

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-2): Kuipers; El-Abd, McShane, Butters, Lynch; Reid (Robinson, 82), Carpenter, Hammond, Frutos; Hart, Carole. Substitutes not used: Mayo, Kazim-Richards, T Elphick Chaigneau.

Leeds United (4-3-3): Sullivan; Kelly, Butler, Kilgallon, Crainey; Douglas, Derry, Miller (Hulse ,70); Blake (Healy, 79), Cresswell, Lewis (Pugh, 83). Substitutes not used: Bennett, Walton.

Booked: Brighton Hammond, Carole, Hart; Leeds Kilgallon, Hulse.

Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).

Man of the match: Reid.

Attendance: 7,415.

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