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Cup Woes - Brighton's 15 exits to lower league sides

For most clubs, drawing a lower league side in a knockout competition provides a genuine opportunity to progress, pick up prize money and enhance their chances of maybe even winning some silverware.

Brighton and Hove Albion aren't most clubs though. Over the last 25 years, the Albion have suffered 15 cup exits to sides from a lower division. These range from the slightly understandable - a reserve side taking on promotion chasers from a lower division as at Wallsall in 2015 for example - to the downright diabolical like losing at home to Sudbury Town.

What these games tend to throw up is classic moments. The aforementioned match at Walsall saw Chris O'Grady take the worst penalty known to man and the Sudbury defeat sparked one of our favourite ever Albion rumours about manager Jimmy Case being found asleep in the bath during the game.

Here, we look back at all 15 of the Albion's exits to sides from lower leagues. Our advice is to read it, weep, and don't go expecting anything routine against Coventry City...

Lincoln City 3-1 Brighton
FA Cup Fourth Round, Saturday 28/01/17
Conference leaders Lincoln City were in the mood for FA Cup giant killing, having dispatched Ipswich in the third round. Chris Hughton sent a reserve side to Sincil Bank and despite taking the lead for Richie Towell (see, he does exist), the Albion ended up on the end of a humiliating 3-1 defeat. The Imps would go onto beat Burnley in round five before losing to Arsenal in the quarter finals, while both us and Lincoln won promotion at the end of the season.
Walsall 2-1 Brighton
League Cup Second Round, Tuesday 25/08/15
League One Walsall inflicted a first defeat in all competitions on the Albion in the second round of the League Cup in the 2015-16 season. This game will forever be remembered for one of Chris O'Grady's better moments in an Albion shirt when he nearly caused a collision with the International Space Station when taking a penalty. What made it even more bizarre was that Jake Forster-Caskey had actually scored from the spot earlier in the game.
Brighton 1-3 Newport County
League Cup First Round, Tuesday 06/08/13
Our only defeat at the Amex against lower league opposition came against league newcomers Newport County in Oscar Garcia's second game in charge. This was Newport's first game in the competition since 1988 and they made up for lost time with a 3-1 victory in extra time against an Albion side featuring Gordon Greer, David Lopez, Will Buckley and Ashley Barnes while Inigo Calderon saw red for breaking the leg of Robbie Willmott
Swindon Town 3-0 Brighton
League Cup First Round, Tuesday 14/08/12
The start of the football season was delayed due to the London Olympics, which meant that the competitive action got underway with the League Cup. Brighton still looked on the beach as despite fielding a full strength side, Gus Poyet's side were undone 3-0 by Paolo Di Canio's Swindon Town. Alan Navarro managed a grand total of one goal in three season in a Brighton shirt. He scored twice on his Swindon debut that evening.
Northampton Town 2-0 Brighton
League Cup First Round, Tuesday 10/08/10
The Albion had made a great start to the season with a 2-1 win at Swindon thanks to two goals from Matt Sparrow. Sparrow was one of the few first team players on show three days later at Northampton in the League Cup and he clearly didn't want to be working that night as he got himself sent off after half an hour. He wasn't the only one to have an evening to forget, Michael Poke letting a shot through his legs on his only Albion appearance.
Luton Town 1-1 Brighton
Johnstones Paint Trophy South Final
, Tuesday 17/02/09
Luton Town were bottom of League Two and doomed to relegation. They were all that stood in the way of a first ever Paint Pot Final and a trip to Wembley for the Albion. A simple task then? Of course it wasn't, as the game finished 1-1 and Luton took their chance in the resulting penalty shoot out to win the tie. It wasn't all bad news though - the result meant Micky Adams was sacked, in came Russell Slade and the rest, as they say, is history.
Brighton 1-2 Mansfield Town
FA Cup Third Round, Saturday 05/01/08
A year before that Luton debacle, another side 92nd out of 92 in the Football League had inflicted embarrassment on the Albion. Mansfield were woeful but Brighton gave one of the worst performances of the Dean Wilkins era (plenty of competition for that) to crash out of the FA Cup at the end of a week in which George O'Callaghan and Bas Savage had both openly criticised chairman Dick Knight and left the club as a result.
Shrewsbury Town 3-2 Brighton
League Cup First
Round, Tuesday 23/08/05
Gay Meadow was always a popular away day with Brighton supporters but our last ever visit wouldn't rank as a highlight. Bar a debut for Florent Chaigneau, it was pretty much a full strength team that lost 3-2 to League Two opponents. Inexplicably, Leon Knight captained the Albion from central midfield in a sign that Mark McGhee was perhaps now drinking too much whiskey while there was a teenager by the name of Joe Hart in the Shrewsbury goal.
Brighton 1-2 Bristol Rovers
League Cup First
Round, Tuesday 24/08/04
Brighton had played four times in the Championship since winning promotion and picked up one point. League Two Bristol Rovers' visit in the League Cup looked a good chance to get a win on the board and McGhee certainly thought so, fielding a full strength side. Things looked good when Guy Butters scored inside of 10 minutes but Rovers battled back to win 2-1 and send the Albion into crisis. McGhee's answer? Starting Adam Virgo up front in the next game.
Lincoln City 3-1 Brighton
FA Cup First
Round, Saturday 08/11/03
Oh look, its another 3-1 defeat against Lincoln City. McGhee took the strange step of naming six defenders in his starting XI to take on a side from a division below, and even stranger was that Robbie Pethick was the one of those chosen to start in central midfield. We doubt he had ever played there in his life before. The result was Lincoln storming 3-0 ahead inside of an hour to win the tie with Chris McPhee continuing his hot streak by netting the consolation.
Hereford United 2-1 Brighton
FA Cup First
Round, Saturday 15/11/97
It was the draw everybody knew was going to happen. Six months after Hereford and Brighton met on the final day of the season to decide who would stay in the Football League, we were paired with each other again in the first round of the FA Cup. Edgar Street was packed with a baying crowd wanting revenge and they got it as Neil Grayson scored twice to send the Bulls into the second round. Stuart Storer scored for the Albion
Brighton 1-1 Sudbury Town
FA Cup First
Round Replay, Tuesday 26/11/96
The 1996-97 season was an absolute catalogue of misery for the Albion, but even amongst that, being eliminated from the FA Cup to Sudbury Town in a home replay stands out. Sudbury packed their corner of the East Terrace and the traveling fans were treated to a penalty shoot out win after a 1-1 draw. This was also the match in which Jimmy Vase was rumoured to have been found asleep in a bath during the game. He was the manager at the time.
Brighton 0-0 Fulham
FA Cup Second
Round Replay, Tuesday 14/12/95
Fulham proved to be a real thorn in the Albion's side in cup competitions during the 1995-96 season. They were in the bottom tier with the Albion struggling one division above, yet they progressed in the FA Cup with a penalty shoot out win at the Goldstone. Brighton managed to score a grand total of one of their spot kicks with Fulham converting all four. We'd only just squeaked past the might of Canvey Island in the previous round as well.
Brighton 0-2 Fulham
League Cup First Round
, Tuesday 22/08/95
Yes, Fulham also eliminated us from the League Cup in the 1995-96 season as well. These were the days in which the first and second rounds of the competition were played over two legs, which basically doubled the amount of embarrassment the Albion could suffer. In this case, that embarrassment came from a heavy 3-0 defeat away at Craven Cottage which was followed two weeks later by a 2-0 home defeat.
Kingstonian 2-1 Brighton
FA Cup First Round
, Saturday 12/11/94
While we'd suffered famous defeats to Walton & Hersham and Leatherhead in the 1970s, the Albion hadn't crashed out of a cup competition to a non league side for nearly 20 years until this defeat at Kingstonian for whom Jamie Ndah scored twice. We'd love to know what was going through the mind of Liam Brady, one of his generations finest players, as he managed a side losing to a bunch of electricians and postmen. It would of course get much worse...