Report: Albion 2 Burnley 0Oscar Garcia tasted his first success at the Amex as Albion defeated ten man Burnley 2-0.
Andrew Crofts opened the scoring before Tom Heaton survived being sent off for a foul on Will Buckley outside the area; however the keeper’s stay of execution didn’t last long as he was dismissed for unsporting behaviour early in the second half.
With Burnley depleted, Buckley and Leonardo Ulloa combined to seal back-to-back victories for the Seagulls.
Albion were forced into one change from the team that secured the win at Birmingham City. Due to the absence of Keith Andrews, Rohan Ince stepped into the midfield, and there was also a home debut for Stephen Ward.
The early stages were relatively even with Ulloa dragging an effort wide, whilst Ince made a timely interception at the other end in a fragmented opening 20 minutes.
Burnley’s Scott Arfield had the best chance of the opening quarter but his effort trickled wide after a deflection. For Albion Andrew Crofts – who was the hero at Birmingham – headed over from a Buckley cross.
As time elapsed in the first half, the Seagulls began to take greater control of the game and Inigo Calderon wasn’t far away from drilling in his first goal for over a year; but the Amex didn’t have to wait long to see the net ripple.
Ulloa’s presence and pure power proved too much for Kevin Long who was outmuscled down the left, and the Argentinian’s perfect ball across the face of goal was guided home by Crofts for his second goal in as many games.
Falling behind woke the Clarets up and Keith Treacy flashed a shot across goal before an exquisite through ball from Kemy Agustien found Will Buckley minutes later, but the Albion winger’s resultant shot was also off target.
Buckley’s pace was causing problems and once again he broke through on goal, only for the visitor’s keeper Heaton to bring him down as he attempted to round him.
The foul was indisputable and referee Darren Sheldrake was immediate in his decision to award a free-kick on the edge of the area; however much to the dismay of all Albion players, staff and fans, only a yellow card was brandished; perhaps saved by the two defenders that were back with him.
David curled the resulting free-kick wide as the half ended at 1-0, with a chorus of boos surrounding the officials for their decision not to dismiss the Burnley shot stopper.
Early efforts from Treacy and Buckley earned no reward as the second half began, before Ulloa’s acrobatic scissor-kick went straight at Heaton.
But it was to be the Burnley goalkeeper’s last action as referee Sheldrake brandished a second yellow card for unsporting behaviour, as Heaton had released the ball back into play but caught it again before any other player had touched it. Coach Ian Woan soon joined the goalkeeper down the tunnel when he was dismissed for his subsequent protestations.
A quick reshuffle for the visitors saw substitute keeper Alex Cisak replace Treacy as the ten men looked ahead to the final half an hour of play.
And Albion made the most of their numerical advantage when Ulloa rose to direct Buckley’s cross past Cisak to give Oscar’s men a deserved victory.