Leeds boss unhappy with defensive display

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AN injury-time goal from the man who cannot stop scoring, Ross McCormack, earned Leeds United a deserved point on their long travel to Brighton, but did not spare the players an earbashing from manager Simon Grayson.

McCormack (pictured) also scored a superb first goal in the opening half and Andy Keogh netted his long awaited first for the Whites, but Leeds contrived to throw away a two-goal lead and looked to be heading home without a point before their Scottish striker’s late intervention following a great burst into the box and pull back by captain Jonny Howson.

Grayson has defended his team’s defensive displays several times in the past 12 months, but was unhappy with their latest performance.

He said: “We can’t keep conceding goals and my players must understand it.

“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.

“To go from 2-0 up to be losing 3-2 with six minutes left is worrying. It was a fantastic opportunity to beat a good team and you can’t give away leads of 2-0 at half-time. Ultimately it’ll lead to us not being in the play-offs or getting promotion if we continue to do that.

“We must make sure we get clean sheets. We need to see games out. We came back again to get a point, but it was frustrating.”

Grayson saw his side control most of the opening half with the re-signed Danny Pugh fitting in well down the left with Aidan White and midfield duo Howson and Adam Clayton winning their battles with their opposite numbers.

The defence rarely looked threatened, aside from a couple of Brighton corners, and United’s promising opening brought them two goals.

Keogh was first to strike following a pacy run from left-back White and blocked shots from Clayton and McCormack.

Then McCormack made space for himself with a fantastic turn on the edge of the box and beat former Leeds keeper Casper Ankergren with an equally impressive shot.

But Brighton were quick out of the traps after half-time and within two minutes pulled a goal back as their record signing, Craig Mackail-Smith showed outstanding skill in the box to get free to fire past Andy Lonergan.

The hosts levelled on the hour as Ashley Barnes scored from the spot after Leigh Bromby’s rash challenge sent Mackail-Smith sprawling in the area.

Bromby was again found wanting six minutes from time when he allowed Mackail-Smith to get ahead of him to score from close range after defensive partner Darren O’Dea had failed to cut out a cross and Brighton were ahead.

Clayton missed a great chance to hit back almost immediately for United after substitute Mike Vayrynen’s long range strike had come back off Ankergren. But Leeds did get their point two minutes into injury-time as Howson set up McCormack for his eighth league goal of the season.

Match facts

Brighton 3

(Mackail-Smith 47, 84, Barnes 60, pen)

Leeds United 3

(Keogh 18, McCormack 24, 90)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Npower Championship

Attendance: 20,646

Brighton: Ankergren, Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Painter, Lualua (Hoskins 86), Dicker, Bridcutt, Noone (Vicente 45), Barnes, Mackail-Smith (Vincelot 90).

Leeds: Lonergan, Lees, Bromby, O’Dea, White, Snodgrass (Forssell 86), Clayton, Howson, Pugh (Vayrynen 80), McCormack, Keogh (Becchio 68).

Referee: Lee Probert.