BURNLEY suffered their third defeat in five games, after David Lopez's first-half goal was enough to win the game for Brighton.

The Clarets had two headers cleared off the line before the break, while Charlie Austin went close with second half headers – both from half-time substitute Danny Ings' right wing deliveries.

But Brighton had the edge in this battle of two play-off hopefuls and could have scored more.

Brighton struck in the 20th minute, after the Clarets failed to deal with Wayne Bridge's left wing cross that was flicked on and Lopez was unmarked to side-foot across Lee Grant.

It proved decisive, but Brighton were unlucky not to capitalise on further left-wing raids.

Equally, Clarets captain Jason Shackell was unfortunate not to score from a couple of first half corners – the first was cleared off the line, the second superbly saved by Tomasz Kuszczak.

Ings replaced Junior Stanislas at the start of the second half and looked to have an instant impact, picking out Austin in the box with a cross from the right, but his header was held by the keeper.

Brighton brought on the fresh legs of Craig Mackail-Smith and Ashley Barnes to try to increase their advantage, but the impressive Kevin Long was more than a match for them in only his third start.

But Burnley could not come up with the goal they needed to rescue a point.