HEATON LOSES HIS HEAD AT THE AMEX
Clarets keeper sees red
BRIGHTON outplayed previously unbeaten Burnley after a frenetic afternoon on the south coast – but were helped by an extraordinary sending-off of visiting goalkeeper Tom Heaton.
Wales midfielder Andrew Crofts scored his second goal in as many games before Leonardo Ulloa’s fine header handed Brighton their first home win here – their second in succession – at a rocking Amex Stadium.
After a bright start from both sides, Brighton opened the deadlock when Crofts slotted home from close range from a low Ulloa cross.
It was Heaton’s red card in the 56th minute that then became the main talking point as Brighton slowly sapped the energy from ten-men Burnley, who simply ran out of ideas.
Heaton was first awarded a yellow before the break, when ever-present danger man Will Buckley was felled outside the box from a loose ball. In what looked like a clear sending off, Heaton jogged back to his goal sheapishly, fearing the worst, before a yellow was awarded.
However, his reprieve was short-lived after he was given his marching orders for unsporting behaviour in the second-half for handling the ball twice, with Buckley again causing a nuisance on the edge of the box.
The Burnley bench fumed and just to sum up their woeful afternoon, assistant coach Ian Woan was sent to the stands.
Brighton’s win was confirmed after a delightful move down the right wing, before Buckley’s cross found Ulloa, his looping header securing the points. It was the Argentine’s third goal of the season.
Oscar Garcia, though, preferred to heap praise on his team – Keith Andrews the latest casualty with a hamstring problem – rather than reflect on the red card that changed the pattern of the game.
“Everyone has an opinion. I want to be focused with the things I can change, and with this it was the decision of the referee,” said the Brighton boss.
“From what I saw, he touched the ball outside the box but it was difficult to see.
“We want everyone fit enough but the players who are out there, I am very proud of right now.
“Our start to the season has been difficult as we have been playing in the week. But now all the players want to improve and this is the best thing for a coach.
“It is the one of the things we want to build, to have many players from our youth department starting as soon as possible.”
On Buckley’s star performance, Garcia added:“We want to keep Will’s confidence going as high as possible. He is a special, different type of player.”
Meanwhile, Sean Dyche was at a loss to explain Heaton’s dismissal. The Burnley manager had to seek clarification of the referee’s definition of the red card, but believes that Buckley headed the ball before Heaton miss-handled for a second time.
“The tough side is that a referee gets one chance to look at it,” he said.“It’s hard not to be disappointed when it goes against you like that.
“My only gripe on it is how quick the decision was given. He should have looked to the linesman and not rushed into going to his pocket.”
Asked whether it was one of the more bizarre dismissals he had seen, Dyche added: “I have been in the game a long time and it is in my top five. It is pushing No.1 but you live and learn.
“But we shot ourselves in the foot in the first half with a really poor goal. There were a few mistakes from both sides but they generally had a better feel for the game.
“We created some goo chances and considering our great start to the season, I didn’t feel we were at our normal tempo.”
OFF YOU GO: Tom Heaton is shown a red card
FIRST BLOOD: Andrew Crofts scores Brighton’s opening goal