Leeds United 1 Brighton 1: Snodgrass nicks late Whites equaliser

SIMON Grayson admits he faces his biggest test since succeeding Gary McAllister 14 months ago

The Leeds manager could do no wrong up to the turn of the year with his team eight points clear in League One, but just one win in the last eight league matches has seen a seemingly unassailable advantage in the promotion race whittled away.

Southampton's win at Norwich was the good news as second-placed Leeds reduced the Canaries' lead to three points, but third-placed Colchester are now just one point behind Grayson's falterers.

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Until substitute Robert Snodgrass struck an equaliser five minutes into stoppage time, Grayson was staring at a second home defeat in four days.

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Brighton manager Gus Poyet, the former Elland Road coach, must have thought the three points were heading to the south coast when Glenn Murray's dubiously awarded 77th-minute penalty broke the deadlock of a match punctuated by referee Carl Boyeson's intrusive whistle.

Yet, for the third time in Leeds' last four league games, a goal was scored in stoppage time.

Ironically, the move was started and finished by two of the men who began on the bench.

Max Gradel, introduced in the 58th minute, supplied the cross for Patrick Kisnorbo to head the ball down for Snodgrass, who had been introduced in the 78th minute to offer his manager some respite with a low, left-footed finish from 12 yards.

By then, Brighton had been reduced to 10 men following Adam Virgo's 81st-minute dismissal for an ugly tackle on Gradel.

Yet it was the late goal by Snodgrass that caused tempers to bubble over as Brighton's backroom staff took exception to their Leeds counterparts' jubilant celebrations.

Poyet accused his former club of "feeling the pressure" but Grayson remained defiant.

"It is the biggest test I've had since I've been at the club because we've not won too many matches," he said.

"That was the case when I first came here but we turned it round with a lot of hard work and a desire to succeed. I would like to think I am a tough character and we will get to where we want to be."

That journey continues tomorrow night when Oldham Athletic are the visitors to Elland Road.

Leeds United: Ankergren; Hughes, Naylor, Kisnorbo, Lowry; Howson (Gradel 58), Kilkenny, Doyle, Johnson (Becchio 64); Beckford, McSheffrey (Snodgrass 78). Unused substitutes: Martin, Grella, Bromby, White.

Brighton & HA: Brezovan; Calderon, Virgo, Elphick, Painter; Bennett (Hart 56), Navarro, Crofts, Dicker, Lua Lua (El-Abd 82); Murray. Unused substitutes: Kuiprs, Forster, Carole, Hoyte, Holroyd.

Referee: C Boyeson (East Yorkshire).

Man of the match: Alan Navarro.

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