THE Clarets slipped off the Championship play-off pace as David Lopez's strike was the difference at the AMEX Stadium.
The Spanish midfielder volleyed home in the 20th minute to push the Seagulls in to the top six and move the East Sussex club eight points clear of the Clarets in the process.
The home side were dominant in the opening 45 minutes, manager Gus Poyet being tactically astute in negating Kieran Trippier's forays forward by pushing the effective Andrea Orlandi right on him.
And with Keith Treacy stubbornly sticking to his advanced position up field, the Burnley full-back found himself nulified as an attacking threat while ridiculously stretched at the back.
Junior Stanislas and Treacy had early efforts for the visitors with Tomasz Kuszczak scrambling to tip the former Hammer's dipping cross over the bar before Treacy's curling effort whistled wide of the keeper's right hand post.
But it was Poyet's men who sought the initiative, bombarding Burnley's right through Orlandi and one-time Chelsea and England defender Wayne Bridge on the overlap. That pressure eventually paid off when Kevin Long was dragged out of position to help cover team-mate Trippier, leaving skipper Jason Shackell isolated in the box, and as Bridge's centre was flicked on by Orlandi, the La Liga star, signed from Athletic Bilbao, fired past Lee grant at the back post.
However, the hosts didn't have it all their own way and the Clarets were extremely unfortunate not to draw level. From Stanislas's corner, Shackell saw his header hacked off the line and moments later the centre-half was once again denied his first goal for the club when his thumping header was destined for the corner, but Kuszczak plunged to his post to spectacularly claw the ball off the line. The save drew audible gasps from the crowd.
Brighton continued to torment the Clarets down their favoured flank and should have doubled their advantage when Orlandi infiltrated the space in behind Trippier and crossed for Leonardo Ulloa who somehow headed off target from inside the six-yard box.
It was a threat that needed addressing, and Sean Dyche duely responded at the interval as Stanislas was withdrawn for Danny Ings who switched sides with Treacy. And the change was successful as Ings's endeavour and work-rate almost rendered Orlandi anonymous in the second stanza.
The transformation also saw the Clarets assert themselves on the fixture, forcing the momentum and camping out in the home side's half for prolonged periods.
Leading scorer Charlie Austin registered the first attempt of the second half but his header was too close to Kuszczak who clasped the ball, saving to his left. And Austin should have done better when he failed to make contact with Danny Lafferty's enticing cross before Chris McCann lifted over the top on the half-volley as he stormed in at the back post.
Poyet's next change was testament to Burnley's effort and work rate, with a double substitution seeing Ashley Barnes and Craig Mackail-Smith replace Orlandi and Ulloa respectively as the hosts look to snatch back the initiative.
The Clarets were almost exclusively housed in their rivals' half and continued to craft openings as Dean Marney scooped wide after Ings pulled the ball back from the by-line while Ings and Austin had sights of goal but they were crowded out as the ball refused to fall kindly for either.
Gordon Greer was introduced for the Seagulls late on, replacing Vicente, as Poyet switched to three centre backs to pack his rearguard in a bid to hold on to their lead. And it worked as Austin's header across Kuszczak, which flashed past the far post, proved the only opening Burnley had to snatch a point.
Dyche's side, who now sit 12th in the Championship, will entertain Huddersfield Town at Turf Moor on Tuesday, kick-off 7-45 p.m.