Ross McCormack snatched an equaliser deep into stoppage time as Leeds stopped Brighton from returning to the top of the Championship table.

Leeds raced into a two-goal half-time lead courtesy of strikes from Andy Keogh and McCormack.

Craig Mackail-Smith reduced the arrears then turned provider, winning the penalty which Ashley Barnes scored.

Barnes then supplied Mackail-Smith, who slotted home, but McCormack grabbed a point for Leeds in the final seconds.

Brighton manager Gus Poyet made five changes to the team that lost against Liverpool in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night but despite the fresh faces, they looked weary in the opening exchanges.

Leeds were soon ahead through Keogh.

The striker found Adam Clayton on the edge of the area and when the midfielder's shot was blocked Keogh gathered the loose ball to slot home his first Leeds goal.

Ashley Barnes of Brighton (L) evades Darren O'Dea of Leeds (R)

Ashley Barnes of Brighton (left) evades Darren O'Dea

Six minutes later McCormack turned to unleash a superb left-foot drive into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Brighton thundered out of the blocks after the break and less than two minutes after half-time Mackail-Smith collected Barnes' pass from the right to coolly slot the ball into the bottom corner.

Leeds were now the team under pressure and Leigh Bromby was the first man to buckle, inexplicably bringing down Mackail-Smith in the box with an hour played.

Barnes netted from the spot in the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool  and he was again on hand to complete the formalities.

But the game was far from over.

First Inigo Calderon and Barnes combined effectively down the Leeds left to leave Mackail-Smith with a simple finish.

And with barely a minute remaining of stoppage time the impressive McCormack slammed home his ninth of the season from Jonathan Howson's cutback.

Leeds boss Simon Grayson vented his frustration that his side could not see the game out from being in a commanding position.

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."

Opposition manager Gus Poyet had mixed emotions after the game.

He told BBC Sussex: "It was a great game of football to watch and great for supporters, but not a good game for managers.

"There were things we needed to put right. It was important to go back in the second half and score early. Things we normally do we did better, until the 92nd minute.

"It's a mix of emotions. We were practically out of the game and then nearly won it. Then we conceded not a very good goal at the end."

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