Brighton 2-2 Leeds
2/11/12 - 7.45pm
Craig Mackail-Smith scored twice but missed a second half penalty as Albion were denied a first win in 7 despite dominating Leeds in an eventful encounter.
Referee Lee Mason was at the centre of proceedings, pointing to the spot three times in all, as both sides dispatched first half penalties, before Mackail-Smith added his second to put the hosts ahead - only for Michael Brown to grab a fortuitous equaliser for Warnock's men.
The Seagulls came flying out of the traps, with the fleet-footed Will Buckley making good headway on the flanks - Ashley Barnes an immediate beneficiary of the winger's work, skewing an effort wide of Paddy Kenny's target. Barnes then fired narrowly wide after a superb run from Wayne Bridge.
Andrea Orlandi, at the heart of the hosts' early spell of flowing football, saw a free kick deflect wide after being hauled down on the edge of the box. The Spaniard then made the decisive pass that led the opener, threading a cute through-ball into the path of Buckley, who was tripped by Lee Peltier.
Mackail-Smith stepped up to drill the ball down the middle, leaving Kenny with no chance, and handing Albion a deserved lead. The Scotland striker very nearly doubled the lead, with an instinctive prod that was helped onto the post by Kenny. They really had no excuses not to have extended their advantage moments later, however, when Orlandi squandered a gilt-edged chance.
Bruno broke down the right, latching onto Buckley's pass, before playing a perfectly weighted pass to the back-post, where Orlandi was waiting all alone - but the Spaniard could only stab his volley into the ground and over from 6 yards. It was a miss that was going to come back to haunt them, as Leeds found a way back into the game on 37 minutes.
Luke Varney fell to the ground after a tussle with Bruno in the area as the ball made its way toward them, and Lee Mason decided he'd seen enough to warrant another spot-kick. Tomasz Kuszczak, a spectator for most the night up til this point, dived the right way, but couldn't keep out El Hadji Diouf's low, accurate penalty kick.
A fired up Albion took little time in restoring their lead after the interval, with Orlandi laying off another sumptuous through-ball into the path of Buckley, who cut it back for Mackail-Smith to fire home, grabbing his 8 goal of the season. Buckley and Mackail-Smith then proceeded to work the ball brilliantly for the latter to break into the box, but his low drive was well saved.
But Poyet's men, for all the chances, were made to pay once again, as Michael Brown, who should have been dismissed moments earlier for a cynical trip, levelled matters with a deflected effort from the edge of the area that ricocheted off Luciano Becchio, leaving Kuszczak unsighted.
Becchio, on as a sub, nearly put the visitors ahead, but his glancing header just evaded the post. Lee Mason then came to the fore once again, awarding Albion another spot-kick after Sam Byram upended Mackail-Smith in the area. This time the Seagulls' top scorer was denied, as Kenny got down well low to his right.
Stephen Dobbie was introduced for Albion and nearly bagged a screamer, as his left-footed pile driver went narrowly over, before Andrew Crofts missed a glorious chance in stoppage time - his side-footed effort brilliantly saved by Kenny to somehow preserve a point for the visitors.