BORO boss Aitor Karanka could hardly believe his eyes after seeing his side leak a last-gasp goal for the third game running.
After a stoppage-time sucker punch had led to defeat at Derby and a last-minute leveller cost them victory at Birmingham, Karanka was sickened by an 86th-minute Matthew Upson header from a corner which handed the Seagulls the victory at the Riverside and left Boro just three points above the Championship drop zone.
“Of course I am angry,” he said. “We are giving gifts to our opponents in every game.
“I can’t believe it. It is the same thing again. It is not normal to play so many games when you are probably better than your opponents but you do not get the points.
“The most important thing at set-plays is for a man to know who he is marking and to stop them from scoring goals. That is it. That is the job at set-plays.
“It is always a lack of concentration. It cannot continue in this way. Here we are again after five games now saying the same things.
“All we can do is work hard. The biggest problem though is focus. My hope is that in the next games the players concentrate until the very last minute.”
Brighton took advantage of a jittery Boro defence to carve out the best of the early chances. They won a corner on 10 minutes and, when it sailed to the far post, Ashley Barnes was unmarked but his angled header came back off the post then was scrambled away.
The loose ball was chipped back and a poor back header by Jonathan Woodgate sent keeper Shay Given furiously back-pedalling to tip over.
Boro had their first real chance on 26 minutes as Grant Leadbitter and George Friend combined down the left to pick out Mustapha Carayol on the edge of the box and his low 20-yard effort sent keeper Peter Brezovan scrambling to the near post to push it behind.
Carayol went cose in the second half from close range but his effort was deflected behind for a corner.
Then on 70 minutes, Lukas Jutkiewicz did well to hold off a defender on the edge of the box and send a shot on the turn just wide of the far post.
But Brighton snatched the points against the run of play on 86 minutes when they won a disputed corner. Upson connected with a downward header that bounced up and inside the post.