Season opener: Leeds 2-1 Albion

Brighton & Hove Albion FC news
Brighton & Hove Albion FC news

Our Albion correspondent Patrick Gleeson reports on the Seagulls’ disappointing start to the new season.

Albion’s opening game of the new campaign ended in heartache as Leeds snatched all three points deep into second half stoppage time.

Leonardo Ulloa had put the Seagulls into the lead early on before the hosts hit back moments later through Ross McCormack, but Luke Murphy stole the headlines with a controversial winner in the dying seconds of the game.

The victory was well received by the expectant Leeds fans, but those travelling home to the South coast were left with a sour taste in their mouths.

Albion had no intention of letting their opponents control the game and were quick to test Paddy Kenny’s resistance with a rasping Andrea Orlandi effort from distance, but the Irishman was equal to it.

It wouldn’t be long, though, before he was beaten as Ulloa opened the scoring in convincing style. The Argentine powered into the penalty area, across his marker, and lashed the ball high into Kenny’s net to give Oscar Garcia the perfect start in his first competitive game in charge.

The joy was short-lived, however, when Leeds frontman Ross McCormack levelled the game just six minutes later. Michael Tongue’s inviting cross was not dealt with by the visitors and the Scotland international coolly fired low into Tomasz Kuszczak’s net.

Noel Hunt came close to adding a second for the home side but failed to compose himself in front of the boisterous home fans and spooned over the bar.

The heat, coupled with the lack of match sharpness, resulted in a more tranquil second half from both sets of players, but Kenny was alert to pull off an incredible double save to deny Andrew Crofts and Inigo Calderon in quick succession.

Both sides pushed for a winner in the latter stages of the game and the hosts looked to have got it when substitute Dominic Poleon forced Kuszczak into a fine save before Paul Green scuffed his lines and fired over.

Kazenga LuaLua, who was introduced after the break, then sparked an Albion counter-attack and offered Will Buckley the chance to grab a victory for the Seagulls, but Kenny reacted brilliantly to parry the ball away from goal.

Seconds later, a punt up field was nodded down by target-man Matt Smith allowing Murphy to burst into the box and strike past Kuszczak, amid claims that the former Crewe midfielder controlled the ball with his hand.