Norwich City U23s began their 2017-18 Premier League 2 Division 2 campaign with a 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Michee Efete gave City the lead midway through the first-half with a sensational overhead kick, but Brighton turned the game around in the second 45 thanks to goals from Des Hutchinson and James Tilley.
In the City starting eleven, Harry Toffolo made his comeback from injury with Tom Trybull, Ben Godfrey and Michael McGovern also included. Tristan Abrahams started up front.
City dominated possession in the opening stages and took the lead on 25 minutes in spectacular fashion. Glenn Middleton’s inswinging corner was just behind Efete but the City centre-back acrobatically hooked the ball past Rob Sanchez to give the hosts the lead.
Brighton almost equalised just moments later through Aaron Connolly. He flicked the ball up and volleyed towards the top corner – luckily for City, the ball just looped over.
City finished the half strongly with Todd Cantwell testing Sanchez from long range but the hosts were still worth their advantage going into the interval.
However, the Seagulls responded immediately at the start of the second-half – a deep cross found Henrik Bjordal at the back post and he squared for Hutchinson to tap into an empty net.
City went close on 60 minutes when Cantwell drew his shot wide after a neat cutback by sub Max Aarons, though ten minutes later, Brighton took the lead when Tilley curled a free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards.
The hosts battled in the last 20 minutes to find the equaliser, but Brighton defended resolutely to shut out their opponents.
City are back in action on Friday away to Middlesbrough.
City XI: McGovern; Godfrey, Odusina, Efete, Toffolo (Aarons, 46); Trybull, Phillips; Aransibia (Higgs, 70), Cantwell, Middleton, Abrahams
Subs not used: Hallett, Wallis, Mututala-Sambu
Bookings: Odusina, Cantwell, Trybull, Aarons, Phillips
Brighton XI: Sanchez, Collar, Cox, Molumby, Kerr, Hall, Bjordal, Hutchinson, Connolly, Sanders (Mandroiu, 88), Tilley
Subs not used: Alzate, Collings, Davies, Ajiboye.
Goals: Hutchinson, Tilley