Albion’s winless run is extended to five games as an early Andy King goal maintained Leicester’s charge at the top of the Championship table.
On a disappointing night for Gus Poyet’s men, Ashley Barnes also missed a second-half penalty but it was a lacklustre first half-hour which cost Albion dear against a side brimming with confidence.
Indeed, Leicester came out the traps all guns blazing and created the game’s first opening on six minutes when a 20-yard Martyn Waghorn free-kick was pushed to safety by Tomasz Kuszczak.
Albion looked all at sea as the hosts continued to crank up the pressure and they duly broke the deadlock on ten minutes when David Nugent went on a surging run into the box.
He played to ball to King and his close-range effort was gallantly blocked by Adam-El Abd but the Foxes midfielder King was on hand to stroke the ball home.
Waghorn could have made it two but spooned his close-range effort over the bar while Kuszczak was again brought into action when he beat out a thumping drive from Anthony Knockaert.
Fortunately, Albion rode out the storm and backed by a small yet vocal support, they started to get a foothold in the game.
The possession count turned swiftly in Albion’s favour but it did not present any clear-cut chances with Barnes failing to get a good connection on an Andrew Crofts centre, and a deep cross by Liam Bridcutt eluding everyone bar Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Albion started the second half in a similar vein but it was Kuszczak who was brought into action first – beating out a fierce drive on the edge of the box from Nugent.
But it was his opposite number Schmeichel who was the hero on 55 minutes when he saved Barnes’s penalty low to his left, awarded after Will Buckley had been tripped in the box by Zak Whitbread.
Stephen Dobbie replaced Gary Dicker on the hour mark in a bid to add more attacking impetus to the side but with Albion throwing men forward, it was Leicester who continued to create the better chances – King drilling a low effort wide.
Mackail-Smith flashed a header wide from Bruno’s deep cross on 79 minutes while Barnes connected with a Bridcutt corner soon after, only to see his close-range header deflected over.
With 94 minutes on the clock, Buckley broke forward but having squared to Barnes, the forward drove wide from 18 yards out. It summed up Albion’s fortunes on the night.
The defeat leaves the Seagulls in 10th place, but such is the nature of the division they remain just two points outside the top six. A small crumb of comfort for those making the long journey back from the midlands.