The visiting forwards display pace and ruthlessness when going forward – netting twice before the break and three times after it – but that wasn’t mirrored by those in Lilywhite as the lads suffered their second league defeat of the season.
Ismail Azzaoui’s angled shot was parried behind for a corner by Brighton goalkeeper George Hobbs three minutes in at the Training Centre, while Harrison’s tidy finish from a superbly-weighted ball into the box by Charlie Owens was chalked off for off-side as we had the better of the opening exchanges.
The first real glimpse of Brighton’s attacking threat came on 13 minutes – and it produced a goal. Jordan Drew sent James Tilley surging forward, the striker clipping the ball beyond goalkeeper Harry Voss and into the far corner of the net to put his side in front.
Joe Pritchard’s shot came off Brighton defender Jamie Horncastle and zipped behind, while Azzaoui’s glancing header from Anthony Georgiou’s cross went the wrong side of the far post.
Azzaoui appeared to be through on goal with 24 minutes on the watch but defender Ben White was able to recover and head his shot away for another corner, while Drew powered away from Chris Paul at the other end – although while the right-back couldn’t stop him, the linesman’s flag could.
Drew and Tilley combined again on 27 minutes, the latter going down as Voss gathered at his feet but Brighton’s appeals for a penalty were waved away by the referee. Tilley ran free again two minutes later, this time being fed by Remy Meyers down the right channel, but he flashed a shot across goal and wide.
The visitors extended their lead on 41 minutes as Drew got away from Paul and floated the ball over Voss and into the net from out on the left side.
Further penalty appeals emanated from the Brighton ranks shortly before the interval after Drew intercepted a pass from Luke Amos, making a rare appearance at centre-half, and played in Tilley. He went down under pressure from Anton Walkes, but again there was nothing doing.
Any hopes we had of getting back into the game were effectively dashed two minutes into the second half when Tilley collected the ball centrally and forced home from inside the box, despite the best efforts of Owens to block.
A minute later we got one back as Paul’s through ball hit Horncastle and fell invitingly for Harrison, whose shot took a deflection and wrong-footed keeper Hobbs – the ball nestling into the corner.
Pritchard stung the palms of Hobbs with a rising effort on 58 minutes before we went close twice in quick succession three minutes later as Georgiou’s shot was blocked by Horncastle and Pritchard’s subsequent drive was palmed upwards and then gathered at the second attempt by the keeper.
Hobbs’ opposite number, Voss, was beaten all ends up by a looping 25-yard free-kick from the left foot of Drew on 66 minutes as the visitors further stretched their advantage, while substitute Marcus Edwards hit the bar with a free-kick of his own at the other end three minutes later.
Another fast-paced attack from Brighton, this time led by right-back Josh Courtney in the 73rd minute, saw the ball swung in for Cam Wilshire to try his luck at the far post, but Voss was able to gather his shot on the goal line.
He was beaten less than 60 seconds later, however, as Tilley surged down the left channel and finished emphatically into the far corner from an acute angle, completing his hat-trick in the process.
Pritchard’s free-kick from close to the byline on the left was ballooned over the bar by Harrison on 81 minutes but we went closer than that on a couple of occasions towards the end with Hobbs forced to save at the feet of Harrison and then Edwards after consecutive through balls within two minutes of each other undid the Brighton back line.
Spurs: Voss, Paul, Muscatt, Owens, Walkes, Amos, Georgiou (Edwards 64), Pritchard, Harrison, Goddard (Stylianides 48), Azzaoui (Loft 48). Substitute (not used): McDermott (GK).