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Leeds United cancel out bogeyman Craig Mackail-Smith’s brace
Brighton 2, Leeds 2
Craig Mackail-Smith continued his impressive record of scoring every time he has played Leeds in senior football but missed a second-half penalty with a hat-trick beckoning as Brighton were held to a draw.
With the game deadlocked at 2-2 after 75 minutes, former Peterborough striker Mackail-Smith’s spot-kick was saved by Paddy Kenny.
He had opened the scoring by slamming in a first-half penalty and put his side ahead in the 48th minute, either side of El-Hadji Diouf equalising with his second goal in as many matches from 12 yards out after Luke Varney, keeping top-scorer Luciano Becchio on the bench, was brought down in the area.
Leeds levelled in the 66th minute as substitute Becchio made an impact with his first touch, seeing the ball deflect off his knee and into the net from Michael Brown’s curling effort.
Mackail-Smith’s failed attempt from 12 yards left the Seagulls without a win in seven attempts, while Neil Warnock’s men have now failed to secure a triumph in their last four league outings.
Brighton made their early dominance count in the 16th minute when Mackail-Smith emphatically converted from the penalty spot following Lee Peltier’s clumsy tackle on the lively Will Buckley.
Mackail-Smith almost netted a second three minutes later, only to see his shot from the edge of the area deflected onto the upright.
Andrea Orlandi wasted an opportunity to register his first Brighton goal when he hit Bruno Saltor’s sublime delivery into the ground and over the bar when unmarked at the back post.
Leeds started to settle and got their reward after 37 minutes. Bruno needlessly fouled Varney in the area and, after referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot again, Diouf slammed in his fifth goal of the campaign.
Mackail-Smith was close to restoring his side’s lead but his shot on the turn was deflected just wide.
However, the lively marksman got his second two minutes after half-time when he fired in from Buckley’s pull back – and almost completed a treble 14 minutes later, although Kenny was equal to his 18-yard drive.
Leeds levelled when Brown’s curling effort found the bottom corner via a deflection off Becchio, who had just come on for Varney.
Mackail-Smith wasted the chance for a treble 15 minutes from time when he missed from the spot after he was fouled by Sam Byram, with Kenny holding on diving to his right.
Both sides looked for a winner late on. Byram fired straight at Brighton keeper Tomasz Kuszczak and Michael Tonge curled a free-kick over, while Kenny pushed away a late Andrew Crofts effort and Buckley failed to hit the target from 25 yards.