Ross McCormack snatched an equaliser deep into stoppage time as Leeds stopped Brighton returning to the top of the npower Championship in a topsy-turvy encounter at the Amex Arena.The Seagulls were in action two nights previously against Liverpool in the Carling Cup and, despite manager Gus Poyet making five changes to his staring line-up, they looked weary as Leeds raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of first-half goals from Andy Keogh and McCormack.But a magnificent piece of individual skill from Craig Mackail-Smith reduced the arrears moments after the interval and the Scotland international then won the penalty from which Ashley Barnes netted his seventh goal of the season.Barnes turned provider as Mackail-Smith finished from close range with six minutes to play.But McCormack intervened to check a remarkable Brighton comeback.In the third minute, some slack marking from Danny Pugh – making his second debut for Leeds following his move from Stoke this week – might have given Brighton the lead.From Craig Noone’s corner Inigo Calderon escaped Pugh to head down for Barnes to thrash over.But Leeds were soon into their stride and, after Robert Snodgrass and Adam Clayton went close, the latter had a hand in the opening goal in the 18th minute.Full back Aidy White cut back from the left to Keogh, who found Clayton on the edge of the area. The midfielder’s shot was blocked but ricocheted into Keogh’s path and he slotted home his first Leeds goal.It was two six minutes later when McCormack turned to unleash a superb left-foot drive into the bottom corner from 25 yards for his eighth goal of the season.Less than two minutes after half-time Brighton were back in the contest. Mackail-Smith collected Barnes’ pass from the right and produced a sublime drag back and turn before coolly stroking into the bottom corner.Leeds were now the team under pressure and Leigh Bromby was the man to buckle, inexplicably scything down Mackail-Smith in the box with an hour played.
Barnes netted from the spot – then Calderon and Barnes combined to leave Mackail-Smith with a simple finish.
But Simon Grayson’s men dug deep and McCormack slammed home from Jon-athan Howson’s cutback.