Brighton 2 Burnley 0
TOM Heaton saw red as the Clarets fell to their first defeat of the season in a controversial clash on the south coast.
The Clarets’ keeper escaped with a yellow card after taking out Will Buckley in the first half after Andrew Crofts had scored the only goal of the game.
But Heaton’s luck ran out in the second half when he was reportedly sent off for “unsporting behaviour” following an incident on the edge of the penalty area with Buckley.
The Albion wide man challenged Heaton for a loose ball on the 18-yard line and when the Clarets stopper grabbed the ball inside his area, the initial thought was that hand ball had been awarded.
Confusion reigned - and in the aftermath, with no-one inside the stadium any wiser, Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan was also sent to the stands for protesting the decision, later clarified as Heaton taking a second succcesive touch - despite Buckley clearly making contact.
When calm was finally restored, Alex Cisak was handed a debut for the 10-men - and the former Oldham keeper was beaten by Ulloa’s firm header 18 minutes from time to cap a disappointing day for Sean Dyche’s side.
The Clarets boss made two changes to his starting 11 for the first time this season at the Amex Community Stadium.
Scott Arfield made his full debut for the Clarets in an enforced change following the news that Ross Wallace underwent surgery on his knee
Keith Treacy also earned a start in place of Junior Stanislas.
And the wide man was involved in the move that carved out a chance for Danny Ings in the sixth minute, which the Burnley striker could only sweep into the arms of Tomasz Kuszczak at his near post.
And the two new mean combined again to carve open another chance in the 20th minute. Treacy came away from a scramble and fed Arfield, whose scuffed shot from the left side of the area had Kuszczak scrambling to turn it for a corner.
Brighton were patient in their build-up, without causing too many palpitations in the Clarets’ defence, other than an Inigo Calderon snapshot that flashed just wide of Tom Heaton’s goal.
But in the 27th minute it was the hosts who made the breakthrough.
Ulloa put pressure on Kevin Long and the defender’s scuffed back-pass allowed the Albion striker to square the ball for the unmarked Crofts to slot home.
Burnley looked to hit back and from a quickly taken free kick in the centre circle, Treacy took on the right back and saw his low cross flash across the six-yard box with no team mate on hand to convert.
But there was controversy two minutes before the break when Brighton were baying for a red card for Heaton.
The Clarets keeper was left in no-mans-land outside his area from Long’s weak headed back pass, and up-ended Buckley as the winger rounded him 30 yards from goal, albeit heading away from goal.
However, skipper Jason Shackell had made up ground to try and cover in the middle and perhaps influenced the decision to only award Heaton a yellow card instead of a red that many inside the Amex were baying for.
The boos predictably rang out for referee Darren Sheldrake at half time - but in the second half it was Burnley who had cause to feel aggrieved.
Heaton twice had to make comfortable saves from Ulloa, but just before the hour came the second incident that controversially ended Heaton’s day prematurely.
The Clarets keeper collected the ball inside his own penalty area under pressure from Buckley, after aborting an attempted roll-out, but was deemed to have shown "unsporting behaviour" following a second successive touch - later shown to be after Buckley touched the ball,
Heaton simply could not believe the resulting booking – and as the Burnley bench protested the dismisal, Woan was sent to the stands by Sheldrake.
Albion then compounded the Clarets misery with a second goal to clinch it 18 minutes from time.
Ulloa had been a constant thorn in the side all afternoon and he flexed the neck muscles to arc a wonderful header into the bottom corner and kill the contest.
BURNLEY: Heaton, Lafferty, Long, Shackell, Trippier, Arfield, Marney, Jones (Edgar 79), Treacy (Cisak 57), Ings (Stanislas 74), Vokes
Subs: Mee, Noble, Duffs, Stock
Booked: Heaton 45, Jones 70
SENT OFF: Heaton 56
BRIGHTON: Kuszczak, Calderon, Greer, Upson, Ward, Lopez (LuaLua 66), Ince, Crofts, Augustien (Foster-Caskey 73), Ulloa, Buckley (March 90).
Subs: Brezovan, El-Abd, Chicksen, Maximenko
Booked: Upson 37
Ref: D Sheldrake