Albion Women suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season, after conceding a last-minute winner against strugglers Tottenham.
Andra Marcoci’s strike in the dying moments of the game mathematically ended the Seagulls’ hopes of winning the title, as they failed to build on the previous week’s memorable cup success against Lewes.
Injuries meant Jay Lovett had to make a number of changes to his squad, and could only include two substitutes for the match.
The game itself was a rather scrappy affair, particularly in the first-half, as Albion struggled to find any rhythm to their play; and were dealt an early blow, as Sophie Perry was forced off injured and had to be replaced by Charlotte Owen.
Lily Agg had the first opportunity of the game when her effort was headed behind by Jenna Schillaci, before Kirsty Barton’s wicked free-kick almost caught out Spurs keeper Joanne Ayre at the far-post.
But the home side broke the deadlock in the 37th minute in agonising circumstances; Mollie Kmita launched an effort from distance that slipped through the fingers of Lucy Mangan.
This prompted a greater sense of urgency from Albion after the break, as Kim Stenning’s shot immediately from the kick-off was deflected behind for a corner.
Captain Tammy Waine also saw her header cleared off the line by Sam Pittuck from the resulting set-piece, before Barton’s free-kick forced Robyn Downie to make another last-ditch clearance.
The Seagulls were eventually rewarded for their pressure, and equalised when Agg’s initial free-kick was tipped away by Ayre into the path of Stenning, who prodded the ball home with 65 minutes on the clock.
Although the game turned once again after the equaliser, with Spurs surging forward looking for a decisive second goal. Bianca Baptiste almost capitalised on slip by defender Jodie Jacobs, but blazed her shot over the bar.
But substitute Marcoci managed to score the winning goal in the 90th minute, as she ran into the penalty area and drove a low shot past an outstretched Mangan to clinch the three points for Tottenham.
Manager Lovett was ultimately disappointed the result and admitted his side were well below their best on the day.
He told Seagulls.co.uk, “We know that the performance today was not up to what we usually expect.
“Maybe having a few injuries did have an impact on the performance, but there was spell in the game when we created some good chances, only for us to drop off again once we equalised. That’s what’s most annoying.”
Albion: Mangan (GK); Carter, Jacobs, Waine (c), Perry (Owen 18); Barton, Agg, Somes, Gurr; Stenning, O’Hagan. Sub not used: Ryan.