Try as they might, nothing is going right for Albion in their increasingly desperate battle to beat the drop.

In fact, the harder they try the more things seem to go wrong.

In-between another soul-destroying search for strikers, Mark McGhee and his staff spent most of last week working to get more out of the forwards they have, including filming them in training to analyse the runs they make.

The club's media men put together a video package to be watched by the players before the match. It mixed clips from Al Pacino's inspiring team talk in his role as an American football coach in the movie Any Given Sunday' with highlights of the season so far.

Anything and everything was done to give the Seagulls an extra edge against relegation rivals Leicester, so what happens?

The usually dependable defence gift-wrap two goals in the opening five minutes and all the planning, the attention to detail, goes out of the window.

Even the choice of programme cover - a black and white picture of Adam El-Abd above the heading Back Four Good' - proved horribly unfortunate.

The title referred to El-Abd's consistent run of performances at rightback, on an afternoon when he was culpable for Leicester's second goal.

Dean Hammond is not aggressive by nature but nobody tried harder to emulate the galvanising qualities of injured captain Charlie Oatway or looked more determined to haul Albion back into contention after such a terrible start.

His reward? A dubious red card with a minute remaining, arising from a misplaced pass by stand-in skipper Guy Butters. It can be such a cruel game sometimes.

Albion are not dead and buried yet but a sixth defeat in eight has doubled the dividing line between them and their opponents to six points and they are five points from safety due to decent goalless home draws for Sheffield Wednesday and Derby against Crystal Palace and Leeds respectively.

Somehow from somewhere the Seagulls need to conjure five wins in the remaining 13 games to give themselves a chance, a tall order when you have managed only five victories in the 33 games already gone.

Forget the striker quest for a moment, they will have to defend much better than they did on Saturday to have any hope.

Just four minutes had elapsed when a corner by Joey Gudjonsson reached Leicester's unmarked captain Patrick McCarthy and he volleyed in from close range at the far post.

Albion claimed that goalkeeper Wayne Henderson and Butters were impeded but it was a poor way to concede.

The same could be said of Leicester's second a minute later, which ultimately sealed a hat-trick of wins under catertaker boss Rob Kelly. El-Abd tried to pass the ball when the situation and a churned-up Withdean pitch demanded a safer option.

The influential Icelandic Gudjonsson put Iain Hume away and the Canada international rounded Henderson to finish with aplomb.

You had to feel sorry for 18-year-old Joe Gatting, promoted to the starting line-up following his goalscoring exploits in the reserve and youth teams. What a match in which to make your full debut.

Albion managed only one attempt at goal in the first half, a stab wide by Seb Carole in stoppage time from a cross pulled back by his compatriot Alex Frutos.

They did not look like scoring until Rab Douglas gifted them a route back to possible salvation 11 minutes into the second half.

The former Celtic keeper's punch from an up-and-under by Hammond fell for Frenchman Frutos to drive in his third goal of the season, all of them at home.

Albion enjoyed their best spell once they had halved the arrears. Butters, Carole, Gatting and his partner Gary Hart all had equalising efforts but the contest ended as it started, with a body blow.

Hammond could have no complaints about his first-half caution for a late challenge on the ubiquitous Gudjonsson. The second, for another foul on the same player, was certainly open to question.

Gudjonsson ran across his path after latching onto Butters' stray pass. It was unclear whether Hammond made contact and, even if he did, it was accidental.

A little common sense was required from referee Steve Tanner. He was too eager to add to the eight red cards and 110 yellow he had already dished out this season.

A defiant McGhee said: "We talked and worked all week on trying to improve our goalscoring and then we did not give ourselves any sort of chance by giving away two goals so quickly and cheaply.

"There should have been two free-kicks when they scored their first goal, one on the goalkeeper and one on Guy Butters, which the referee failed to see.

"I think the second goal came a little bit as a result of the shock of the first goal. We were still reeling from that and people were still complaining to the referee when Adam gave the ball away on a very difficult surface when he should have put it down the channel.

"He tried to play, made a bad decision and we ended up losing another goal as we were stepping out.

"After the two goals it was encouraging that heads didn't go down. That's the one thing we can take out of it. Those first five minutes were really disappointing but we still had plenty of heart for the fight.

"This group of players can put disappointments behind them, they showed that in the other 85 minutes. We are in a scrap, we know that, and we are slightly worse off than last year but we are up for it."

Gatting's elevation meant seven home-grown youngsters were in the squad, a huge encouragement for the future. It is Albion's present predicament which is giving grave cause for concern.

ALBION (4-4-2): Henderson 7; El-Abd 6, McShane 6, Butters 6, Reid 6; Carole 7, Carpenter 6, Hammond 8, Frutos 7; Hart 6, Gatting 6. Subs: Robinson for Carole (injured 72), Hinshelwood, Martin, Kazim-Richards, Lynch.

LEICESTER (4-4-2): Douglas; Stearman, McCarthy, Kisnorbo, Johansson; Sylla, Gudjonsson, Wesolowski, Hughes; Hume, Fryatt. Subs: Smith for Wesolowski (injured 54), O'Grady for Smith (withdrawn 81), Gerrbrand for Hume (withdrawn 86), P. Henderson, E. Hammond.