11 March 2023

Leeds in bottom three despite fighting back to draw with Brighton

11 March 2023

Jack Harrison rescued a point for Leeds in a 2-2 home draw against Brighton but it was not enough to lift his side out of the Premier League relegation zone.

Harrison curled home a 78th-minute equaliser having earlier scored an own goal as Leeds twice hit back to snatch a crucial point against their high-flying visitors.

Alexis Mac Allister’s header was cancelled out by Patrick Bamford’s stunning equaliser before the break and Harrison made amends for turning the ball into his own net in the second half with another brilliant finish.

Leeds had dropped into the bottom three before kick-off after Bournemouth’s surprise home win against Liverpool and anxiety hung over the terraces.

It is unusual to hear the away fans at Elland Road and amid chants of “you’re going down with the Bournemouth”, Brighton emerged as the more likely side to score after a scrappy opening 15 minutes.

The home crowd’s sombre mood was reflected in their side’s nervy start as mis-placed passes at the back invited more Brighton pressure.

Leeds sporadically threatened and Luke Ayling was a denied a scoring chance from six yards by Kaoru Mitoma’s last-ditch tackle.

But there was an air of inevitability about Brighton’s opener. Pascal Gross picked out Mitoma at the far post and his header back across the face of goal was headed home by Mac Allister.

Then out of nowhere Bamford lifted the mood. He collected Harrison’s pass on the edge of the area and crashed home an equaliser via a deflection off Adam Webster and the crossbar.

Mac Allister should have regained the lead for Brighton when he side-footed Mitoma’s cutback off target shortly before half-time.

Leeds maintained their momentum at the start of the second half. Brenden Aaronson’s low shot was tipped away for a corner by Jason Steele and Ayling blazed Harrison’s cross to the far post high and wide.

Leeds’ fans by now had found their voices, but Brighton went ahead again in the 61st minute.

Max Wober’s attempted clearance from Mitoma’s low cross rebounded off Illan Meslier and Harrison turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Solly March.

Leeds sent on substitutes Rodrigo, Weston McKennie and Willy Gnonto in the 66th minute before Brighton should have extended their lead.

Brighton substitute Danny Welbeck turned inside two Leeds defenders only to miss in front of goal and the visitors were made to pay.

Harrison stepped on to Gnonto’s short corner and from the left edge of the area curled home a brilliant equaliser inside Steele’s far post.

Leeds’ appeals for a late penalty were waved away when Rodrigo went down under Webster’s challenge and the point left them second from bottom in the table, while Brighton climbed up to seventh.

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