SEAN Dyche felt referee Darren Sheldrake got it wrong by sending off Clarets keeper Tom Heaton in a bizarre incident in the defeat at Brighton.
The Clarets keeper saw red for a second bookable offence after an incident in the 56th minute of a controversial Amex Stadium clash.
Heaton went to roll the ball out before changing his mind and scooping the ball into the air, where Albion striker Will Buckley challenged the keeper and got a touch.
Heaton, who had already been booked in the first half for fouling Leo Ulloa outside his penalty area, then collected the ball again on the edge of his penalty area following a bounce, but was dismissed for “unsporting behaviour”.
And Clarets boss Dyche, whose side trailed to Andrew Crofts first half strike, insisted he felt the decision turned the game firmly in Albion’s favour.
He said: “The referee said it (the second card) was unsporting behaviour - deemed to be stopping their player scoring - for throwing the ball in the air and catching it again without the opposition touching the ball inbetween.
“That meant a yellow card and a sending off. It’s an interesting one to say the least because most people will see that our keeper was impeded by Will Buckley, who tries to get in the way and heads the ball.
“It can’t be as the referee suggested, but I must make it clear he only has one chance to look at it.
“My only gripe, having spoken to the referee, is could he have taken his time and looked over at the linseman?
“He didn’t give anything and possibly could have calmed things down and said ‘be careful with this one’.
“He didn’t and it’s an outcome we are not happy with.”
Heaton had earlier been booked when many inside the Amex believe he should have seen red for upending Ulloa when the striker took the ball round him 30 yards from goal after pouncing on a poor back pass from Kevin Long.
However, Dyche felt the referee made a brave and correct decision to only award his goalkeeper a yellow card – and felt the incident had no bearing on the eventual decision to send Heaton off.
He explained: “I asked the referee about the connection with the first incident, but he said he was clear-minded and, by the rules, I am told that was a good decision because he hasn’t denied a goalscoring opportunity.
“There was a defending player (Jason Shackell) round covering the goal, their player was going away from goal and still had work to do.
“ It was a tough finish anyway, so I believe that one to be correct.”
After going down to 10-men, Ulloa beat debutant Alex Cisak to give the Seagulls back-to-back defeats and inflict a first loss of the season on the Clarets.
Dyche said: “It was tough after that. In the first half they had the upper hand in general play, but Tom Heaton didn’t have any big saves to make.
“We gave away a very poor goal, but we went out in the second half and were delivering a good performance I felt. We were taking the game to them, but the decision with Tom changed the whole feel of it.
“You can only hope that over a season these things even themselves out. They didn’t last season, so we are hoping that something comes our way a we get something back down the line.”