Paul Harsley’s side carved open countless opportunities but found Seagulls 'keeper Jason Steele in inspired form while Taylor Harwood-Bellis saw a header hit the bar in injury time.
And after soaking up continuous pressure, Brighton then staged a smash and grab raid as former City midfielder Taylor Richards pounced to claim the spoils midway through the second half.
After almost a fortnight’s break for the October internationals, City looked like a side eager to make up for lost time in a busy start.
The first real opening saw Jayden Braaf exchange a deft one-two with Nabil Touaizi on six minutes to be one on one with the ‘keeper but Brighton stopper Steele blocked a low drive with his legs.
From the resulting corner, City created more mayhem in the Albion box before Rowan McDonald’s 20-yard effort sailed just over the bar.
Another slick City passing move conspired to put Braaf in on goal again, however the young Dutchman was unable to steer his shot goal bound.
City continued to dominate and on 18 minutes it needed a stupendous save from Steele to deny Braaf. The keeper leapt to his left to parry away a ferocious drive after fine approach work by Poveda and Doyle.
City continued to dominate with a Doyle corner having to be hacked away yards off the line and Braaf then seeing another effort arrow wide.
However, Brighton were a threat on the counter-attack and it needed a superb block and tackle by McDonald to prevent substitute Peter Gwargis from having a clear run on City keeper Daniel Grimshaw.
On 34 minutes, Touaizi became the latest City player to bemoan his luck. The striker twisted and turned Albion skipper Alex Cochrane inside out on the right flank before cutting inside only to see a curling drive skim inches wide.
And right on half time yet more patient intricate build-up play ended in more frustration with Adrian Bernarbe’s low drive narrowly evading the target.
Steele proved City’s nemesis once again soon after the restart when he dived to block Poveda’s goalbound shot after some dazzling footwork from the young winger.
The one-way traffic continued with Steele again excelling on 55 minutes as he dived to smother another Braaf drive.
The fear was that City would eventually come to regret those missed chances and so it proved on 67 minutes.
After a period of pressure, Danny Cashman’s intuitive cross ball evaded the home defence and found Taylor Richards who drifted in unmarked at the back post to tap home.
And an afternoon of frustration was then compounded in injury time when Taylor Harwood-Bellis's header smacked back off the bar as City strove for an equaliser.
How we lined up
Daniel Grimshaw was in goal, shielded by a back four of Alpha Diounkou, Rowan McDonald, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Nat Ogbeta. Iker Pozo was the midfield anchor shield with Tommy Doyle and Adrian Bernabe also in the engine room. Ian Poveda, Nabil Touazi and Jayden Braaf provided the forward threat.
What it means
The result sees City remain at the foot of the Premier League 2 table on five points.
City are back in action at the Academy Stadium when we play host to Italians Atalanta in our third UEFA Youth League group clash. Kick-off is 3pm.