BRIGHTON might have worn a burgundy strip, but their performance was more like a new world sauvignon - young, fresh and crisp.
As for Town, the words plonk and corked come to mind.
After three successive League I wins, Peter Jackson's men were well and truly picked over by the Seagulls, whose 598 fans in a 10,616 crowd hailed a new hero in hat-trick striker Jake Robinson.
While the 86th-minute sending-off of left-back Danny Adams for a late challenge on Alex Revell seemed a little harsh, the straight red card summed up a dismal afternoon for Jackson, who admitted to being "baffled" by his side's poor home form (just 12 points from 24).
Adams, also dismissed at Bradford three league games earlier, is now suspended for four games starting with Saturday's match at home to Scunthorpe, when Town must show some grit and character to bounce back from their worst home loss since Port Vale (December 28, also 3-0).
While it goes without saying that Town must tighten up in defence, they also need to get back to creating genuine chances.
With their wide players struggling to make any real impression against Brighton, it wasn't until the 70th minute that visiting keeper Wayne Henderson was tested.
He parried Michael Collins' volley from just inside the area, and in the next seven minutes, saved shots from Andy Booth and Pawel Abbott.
By that stage of proceedings, Town were three down, having felt the full force of Brighton's impressive pace and movement, and Robinson's accurate finishing.
One of 10 homegrown players and 13 aged 23 or under in the 16-strong squad on duty at the Galpharm, Robinson had scored only eight times in total before Saturday's clash.
Career goal number nine for the 20-year-old came in the 22nd minute, and with no defender close, was headed between diving keeper Matt Glennon and his right-hand post after Dean Cox had supplied a well-placed centre.
The same combination clicked again seven minutes later.
This time Cox played a one-two with Dean Hammond before putting in his cross.
With Aaron Hardy and John McCombe wide out and Martin McIntosh and Adams drawn towards Revell, both Robinson and Tommy Fraser were in space, with the former hanging back cleverly to net with a right-foot volley.
Brighton had other chances in the first half - Hammond dinked a low shot across the face of goal, Glennon did well to block from Revell, who also fired narrowly wide, and Cox had a shot saved.
Town's best efforts, a Jon Worthington drive and a Danny Schofield shot, both went wide, and there was a real need to up the tempo after the break.
But just five minutes in, Robinson struck his third when he cut in from the left and curled a right footer into the far corner, and it was game over.
Jake Robinson's hat-trick goal on 50 minutes. Town came back from two down and a poor first-half performance to force a draw at Tranmere, and might have done the same against Brighton. But No19 Robinson's well-taken right-foot curler put paid to any hope of a repeat act and had some Town supporters heading for the exits.
How They Rated:
Matt Glennon Made a couple of good saves, but looked like he had the first goal covered and might have got to the second. Rating: 5/10
Aaron Hardy After the high of Port Vale, found it harder going against Dean Cox, whose crosses from the left brought two goals. Rating: 5/10
Danny Adams Caught out a couple of times in the first half, and late dismissal pretty much summed up his afternoon. Rating: 5/10
Martin McIntosh Had been in fine form since returning from Grimsby loan, but fell below usual standard on this occasion. Rating: 6/10
John McCombe Worked hard but never looked totally comfortable against the pace of Brighton's attackers. Rating: 5/10
Matty Young Put in plenty of effort as normal, but like fellow wideman Danny Schofield, couldn't really get into the game. Rating: 5/10
Jon Worthington Tackled manfully, but couldn't quite lift his teammates to a similar level of hunger. Looked increasingly frusrtated. Rating: 6/10
Michael Collins Had Town's best effort on goal with a well-struck volley, but this wasn't one of his better performances. Rating: 5/10
Danny Schofield Put one shot across the face of goal narrowly wide, but overall, not enough was seen of the left-side wideman. Rating: 5/10
Pawel Abbott Handed a first start in four league games (Mark Hudson was sacrificed), but unable to make presence felt. Rating: 5/10
Luke Beckett Found himself back in a two-man frontline but unable to carve out any genuine chances to show finishing class. Rating: 5/10
Spotlight on the Ref: Lancastrian whistler Neil Swarbrick's performance was like that of Town - below-par. Appeared to get a couple of decisions the wrong way round, missed a blatant handball by each side, booked one Brighton player for kicking the ball away but not another and was harsh on Danny Adams, who deserved a yellow card but not a straight red.
Henderson, Mayo, Hinshelwood, El-Abd, Hammond, Butters, Revell, Robinson (Rents, 75mins), Cox, Fraser (Hart, HT, Lynch, 50mins), Whing. Subs not used: Gatting, Sullivan. Caution: Robinson.