McCormack's late leveller stops Poyet celebrating a famous win

Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Leeds United 3
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The Independent Football

Ross McCormack snatched an equaliser deep into stoppage time as Leeds stopped Brighton from returning to the top of the Championship in a topsy-turvy encounter here last night.

The Seagulls were in action on Wednesday against Liverpool in the Carling Cup and, despite manager Gus Poyet making five changes to his staring line-up, they looked weary as Leeds raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of first-half strikes from Andy Keogh and McCormack.

But a magnificent turn and finish from Craig Mackail-Smith reduced the arrears moments after the interval and the Scotland international then won the penalty from which Ashley Barnes netted his seventh goal of the season.

Barnes turned provider as Mackail-Smith finished from close range with six minutes to play, but McCormack intervened to check a remarkable Brighton comeback.

Simon Grayson, the Leeds manager, was upset that his side could not see the game out from a commanding position. "We can't keep conceding goals and my players must understand it," he said. "We shouldn't be delighted at getting a point right at the death from the situation that we were in.

"But, on the positive side, we have taken seven points out of nine in the last three games and will always score goals. It's just a mental approach that individuals need to act on for themselves."

Poyet admitted that, in the cold light of day, Brighton taking a point from the game would be seen as a point gained in the circumstances. He said: "We were practically out of the game at 2-0 down so we need to be realistic. Credit to the players to get back to 2-2 and then score again.

"But there's no excuses. We made a great effort only to concede in the 92nd minute. I'm not happy with 3-3, but it can be a point gained from the position that we were in."

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-2): Ankergren; Greer, Dunk, Calderon, Painter; Noone (Vicente, h-t), Dicker, LuaLua (Hoskins, 86), Bridcutt; Barnes, Mackail-Smith (Vincelot, 90). Substitutes not used: Brezovan (gk), Navarro.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Lonergan; Lees, Bromby, O'Dea, White; Snodgrass (Forssell, 86);

Howson, Clayton, Pugh (Vayrynen, 81); Keogh (Becchio 68), McCormack. Substitutes not used: Rachubka (gk), Kisnorbo.

Referee: L Probert (Wiltshire)