Barnet exited the EFL Cup at the first time of asking after a narrow 1-0 defeat at the home of Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Seagulls made 11 changes from their side that was beaten by Leicester City at the weekend, with three players making their first-team debuts.

The Bees put out their strongest side possible but suffered a blow when regular goalkeeper Jamie Stephens was injured in the warm-up; Craig Ross taking his place between the sticks.

The Bees worked hard all night at limiting their opponents’ goal-scoring opportunities and were quick to get men behind the ball when moves broke down.

The home side enjoyed the majority of possession in the first-half but when they did manage to carve out openings Ross and his defence proved difficult to breach. And if a defender made a slip or an error a teammate was always quickly on the scene to nullify the danger.

Brighton keeper Niki Maenpaa was fortunate not to concede a first-half penalty when his rash challenge of Shaq Coulthirst went unpunished by referee Steve Martin.

Barnet had found it difficult to construct attacks of their own in the first 45 minutes, their focus was on defending, but they deserved to be on level terms at the interval such was the quality of their defensive play.

The Seagulls continued to push forward from the outset in the second half and they eventually broke Barnet’s resolve in the 53rd minute when substitute James Tilley fired home from close range after the ball had fortunately rebounded into his path after Charlie Clough had blocked Liam Rosenior’s goal-bound effort.

The Bees immediately adopted a more offensive stance and the visitors had a golden opportunity to level the scores just three minutes later.

A well-flighted delivery into the six-yard box by Jack Taylor should have been converted by Jamal Campbell-Ryce and then Ricardo Santos failed to head home the rebound.

The Bees now began to assert themselves and had Brighton on the defensive. Midfielders Wesley Fonguck and Mauro Vilhete were energetically leading by example.

The visitors were urged forward by a sizeable travelling contingent and they were so nearly rewarded with an equaliser when Jean-Louis Akpa-Apro thudded an effort against an upright.

As the clock ticked down the Premier League outfit were forced by Barnet into some desperate defending but they showed enough guile to keep the Bees at bay and prevent the tie going into extra-time.

Despite Barnet being knocked of the competition, there was much to admire about this performance and their passing style won many admirers.

The Bees face Stevenage at The Hive on Saturday and it is to be hoped that they can recover and recuperate in time for the visit of their local rivals.

Barnet: Ross, Santos, Clough, Tutonda, H.Taylor, J.Taylor, Fonguck, Vilhete, Campbell-Ryce (Akinola 65), Coulthirst (Amaluzor 71), Akpa-Akpro (Bover 76). Subs not used: Kyei, Shomotun, Smith.