Albion's under-23s were unfortunate to leave empty-handed.
Cox 82 (pen)
- Albion lose their first game in the Premier League Cup
- James Thorne scored after Ben Hall was sent off
- George Cox drew the Seagulls level before Nicolas Dumitru-Cardoso's late winner
- Liam Rosenior completed 90 minutes on his third outing for the under-23s
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Nottingham Forest this evening, but remain top of Group E in the Premier League Cup with two games remaining.
The Seagulls were minutes away from securing a hard-fought point against the Reds, after George Cox’s penalty kick cancelled out James Thorne’s early strike on the rebound from his saved spot kick, which saw Ben Hall sent off, but Nicolas Dumitru-Cardoso slotted home late on to snatch the points.
Liam Rosenior made his third appearance for the under-23s since returning from an ankle injury, and 16-year-old striker Aaron Connolly led the line again, following his brace against West Ham United.
Albion were dealt a major blow inside the opening sequence when referee John Brooks pointed to the penalty spot and gave Ben Hall his marching orders for pulling down Elvis Otim.
Despite Albion goalkeeper Robert Sanchez’s initial save from Thorne’s penalty, the striker smashed home the rebound to give Forest an early lead after just six minutes.
Moments later, it was Otim and Thorne causing problems inside Albion’s defensive third again, but this time Thorne's shot went wide of the target after being played through on goal by his team-mate.
The Seagulls thought they had drawn level after 11 minutes, when Henrik Bjordal fired past Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith from close range, but the linesman raised his flag for offside.
Danny Mandroiu then curled a free kick narrowly wide of Smith’s right-hand upright from 25 yards, before Connolly drilled a low shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Even though Albion were at a numerical disadvantage, Simon Rusk’s side showed good organisation before the break and limited the hosts to very few opportunities to double their slender lead.
Albion came out fighting after the re-start and Cox came within inches of restoring parity to the scoreline, but the full-back’s free kick clipped the top of the crossbar, before Jesse Starkey's side-footed effort from point-blank range was brilliantly tipped over by Smith.
Rusk introduced Rian O’Sullivan and Tyler Hornby-Forbes as the Seagulls went in search of an equalising goal, with Starkey and Connolly making way for the pair.
Smith then made two brilliant saves to first deny Cox’s deflected effort from outside the penalty area, before tipping Jayson Molumby’s audacious volley from long distance over the crossbar.
Albion were presented with a golden opportunity to draw level from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, following a foul on Molumby inside the box, and Cox confidently stepped up to fire into the bottom corner.
Just when Albion thought they had clawed back a point, Forest broke forward on 90 minutes and Dumitru-Cardoso dispatched past Sanchez following a perfectly-weighted threaded pass from substitute Aaron Smith, which denied the Seagulls a share of the spoils.
ALBION: Sanchez; Rosenior, Hall, White (Garcia 79), Cox; Molumby, Hutchinson; Bjordal, Mandroiu, Starkey (O’Sullivan 59); Connolly (Hornby-Forbes 65).
SUBS NOT USED: Vose (GK), Barker.