Albion suffered their sixth League defeat on the trot against Gillingham in a game that had everything.

The visitors had defender Mark Saunders sent off after 37 minutes, but they were already 3-1 up by then.

They finished an extraordinary match with nine men, Kevin James receiving his marching orders for a second bookable offence after clinching victory with their fourth goal two minutes into stoppage time.

A sellout crowd of 6,733 saw the Seagulls fall behind in the 11th minute. Paul Shaw capitalised on poor defending to stroke home his second goal of the season.

The deficit doubled for Martin Hinshelwood's men just a minute later, David Perpetuini scoring with a left foot drive.

It was virtually a carbon copy of Albion's previous home League match against Walsall, when they conceded a couple of early goals in the space of a minute.

Richard Carpenter halved the arrears against his old club on 27 minutes with a right foot shot in off the post from 20 yards, Albion's first Withdean goal of the season.

Former Millwall man Shaw restored Gillingham's two-goal advantage on 36 minutes with a cool chip from inside the area.

The Seagulls were thrown a lifeline a minute later when Saunders received a straight red card for retaliating to a Shaun Wilkinson tackle.

Hinshelwood made a double substitution at half time, bringing on the fit-again Gary Hart and Daniel Marney in place of Wilkinson and Steve Melton.

The Seagulls piled on the pressure after the break and were rewarded on 80 minutes when Hart stretched to volley in a cross from Marney.

Marney then fired over from six yards before the game ended in comic fashion.

James sprinted clear and slotted into an empty net as Albion goalkeeper Andy Petterson lost his footing.

James took off his shirt in celebration in front of the Gillingham fans and promptly received his second yellow card from controversial referee Mark Cooper, who also booked eight other players.

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