Mikey Harris said he was “really gutted” for his Albion side after they suffered penalty defeat.

The Seagulls went out of the Conti Cup in a shoot-out after a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa.

Veatriki Sarri’s swerving drive gave them a 35th-minute lead which was cancelled out by Kirsty Hanson’s second-half header.

A dismal shoot-out saw Albion fail to score from four attempts as they went out 2-0.

Harris, less than a week into his tenure as interim boss, would have loved Albion to have gone through after their response to a few turbulent days.

He said: “I feel really gutted for the players because I thought they gave everything.

“Everything we have asked of them they have done, and more.

“We defended really well apart from that one occasion, which is tough to take, but I thought they took a lot of pressure.

“Particularly in the first half I was really impressed with some of our football.”

Sarri struck with a spectacular drive from outside the area which caught out Daphne van Domselaar, although the Dutch goalkeeper was later to make amends for any failings there in some style.

Albion worked the ball from deep and looked good in possession with one and two-touch passing, often going through Vicky Losada.

But Villa got on top in the second period.

It was no real surprise that they should draw level - or that Kenza Dali should be the architect.

She was allowed room to measure her cross from the right and Hanson headed home at the far post.

Some strong defending, in which Maria Thorisdottir impressed, and saves from Sophie Baggaley kept Albion on level terms.

And they should have won it in added time when the ball reached sun Lee Guem-min beyond the far post.

Maisie Symonds crossed, Elisabeth Terland touched the ball on and Lee, in space, fired wide.

Losada saw the opening penalty saved low down by van Domselaar in the shoot-out.

Baggaley immediately lifted home spirits with a superb stop from Sarah Mayling.

But while Baggaley was also to thwart Rachel Corsie, conversions from Adriana Leon and Anna Patten were enough for Villa.

Lee dragged the second Albion kick wide before both Terland and Julia Zigiotti were denied by saves.

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