Whitehawk bowed out of the Sussex Senior Cup on Tuesday night after a 3-1 loss at home to Brighton & Hove Albion U23.
Henrik Bjordal scored twice for the visitors, with Tom Dallison also on target before Elliot Benyon’s late consolation for the Hawks.
Whilst the defeat puts an end to dreams of the AMEX for this season, it leaves Steve King’s side to focus on survival in the National League South.
The Hawks got off to the worst possible start, going behind just five minutes in. A long ball from Owen Moore picked out Henrik Bjordal who took advantage of some poor communication in the Hawks defence to round Dan Wilks and make no mistake with an empty net beckoning.
Ky Marsh-Brown then did brilliantly to cut inside from the right only to see his goalbound effort blocked as the hosts looked for a response, but it was the Seagulls who almost doubled their lead 18 minutes in.
Jordan Davies was given too much space in midfield, and was allowed to dribble through the Hawks defence with only a fine save from Wilks denying the Seagulls youngster.
Steve King’s men then went close nine minutes before the break when Tom Cadman whipped in the ball from the left and picked out Elliot Benyon, but his bullet header went just wide of the far corner with Tom McGill well beaten.
Gold Omotayo then spurred a great chance to draw the Hawks level on the stroke of half-time. Sam Chaney saw his drive blocked and the ball dropped to the striker who somehow blazed well over from inside six yards.
The Hawks continued pressing into the second half, with David Ijaha heading just wide but it was Brighton who doubled their lead midway through the second period.
Max Sanders played a neat ball through to Bjordal, who beat the offside trap and one on one with Wilks fired the ball low past the keeper.
And the result was put beyond doubt with 78 minutes on the clock when a neat set-piece move saw Archie Davies play a good ball across to an unmarked Tom Dallison who had a simple tap-in.
However, there was some cheer for the Hawks with five minutes to go when Sam Chaney’s free-kick picked out Benyon at the far post, who planted his header beyond McGill and into the top corner.