Luke Murphy paid an immediate slice off his £1 million transfer fee when he came up with a 94th minute winner on his debut for Leeds United against Brighton in front of 33,432 at Elland Road.
Brian McDermott’s men were being held 1-1 and looked like having to settle for a point from their opening game in the Championship before new boys Matt Smith and Murphy combined for a last gasp winner.
In the last of four minutes of added time striker Smith knocked down a long ball at the edge of the box and midfielder Murphy burst onto it to control it and fire a shot that was too strong for Brighton keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, who got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out.
It completed a fine comeback for United after they had started slowly and went one down in the 13th minute to a finish from close range by Leonardo Ulloa as he beat home defender Tom Lees to a low ball into the box, leaving the Leeds player appealing in vain for offside.
Leeds gradually improved after equalising through Ross McCormack after Michael Tonge’s cross had been flicked on.
Murphy was not far away with a fine strike from outside the box and another of the summer signings, Noel Hunt, hooked a shot over, but for all the Whites’ dominance territorially they were unable to create much in the way of clear cut chances.
Luke Varney hit an angled shot wide early in the second half before Brighton enjoyed a good period and it needed a fine double save from Paddy Kenny to keep the game level.
Substitute Dominic Poleon livened up United when he came on for Hunt up front and he stabbed a shot just wide from McCormack’s cross.
He was then only denied a winner by a good Kuszczak save in the 89th minute after his bending shot appeared to be heading for the top corner and from the rebound the otherwise impressive workhorse Paul Green fired over.
There were appeals for a penalty soon after when Smith had a header blocked, but the ball was transferred straight down the other end where Kenny had to save well to deny Buckley.
More drama followed with Murphy’s winner and it was all smiles from the big Leeds crowd at an opening day victory.
Leeds United 2
(McCormack 19, Murphy 90+4)
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock (Drury 80), Tonge, Green, Murphy, Hunt (Poleon 67), McCormack, Varney (Smith 82).
Brighton: Kuszczak, Saltor, Upson, Greer, Calderon, Orlandi (LuaLua 82), Bridcutt, Crofts, Lopez (Agustien 57), Ulloa, Barnes (Buckley 64).
Referee: J Adcock.