Full-time: Brighton 2, Burnley 2
Burnley salvaged a point against title rivals Brighton in a dramatic finale at the AMEX Stadium to stretch their unbeaten run to 16 games.
With the visitors trailing 2-1, the lack of goal-line technology or an eagle eye from the linesman denied Michael Keane in the 88th minute.
The defender’s header was a yard over the line after taking a touch off Jamie Murphy on the post but referee Craig Pawson allowed play to continue.
However, deep in to stoppage time justice was served when the former Manchester United man wriggled free to meet substitute Matt Taylor’s corner and power a header past David Stockdale to send the travelling support in to raptures.
That could prove to be a pivotal moment in the campaign for the Clarets, who welcomed Ashley Barnes back from injury against his one-time employers as he replaced Andre Gray in the second half.
Space opened up for Gray early on when Sam Vokes out-jumped Connor Goldson to win the flick on from Tom Heaton’s clearance but Burnley’s leading scorer fired straight at David Stockdale from the edge of the box.
After George Boyd’s effort was blocked by Goldson, the hosts enjoyed a good spell of pressure which resulted in Liam Rosenior lifting a shot over the bar from the angle of the penalty area.
Vokes, up against his former club, was a big presence for the visitors in the final third and he went close to adding to his 14-goal tally midway through the half.
The Welshman, who featured in his nation’s fixtures against Northern Ireland and Ukraine, skewed a right-footed volley wide of the near post after cushioning Matt Lowton’s diagonal pass on his chest.
And then the striker headed over the bar from David Jones’s corner after Lewis Dunk made a crucial recovery tackle to thwart Gray who had raced goal side of the centre-half.
The home side threatened just before the half hour mark when Seagulls’ skipper Bruno nodded Dale Stephens’ corner back in to the mix where Goldson’s shot was deflected wide of the upright.
However, the danger wasn’t over and Brighton scored from the resulting set-piece. Knockaert supplied the delivery, Vokes got a glancing touch to the ball in his attempts to clear, and Stephens peeled off Jones at the back post to touch the ball beyond Scott Arfield and Heaton.
That lead didn’t last long, though, and the Championship league leaders were soon level. Keane won the header from Jones’s corner, Ward kept the ball alive and Gray hammered home from close range to make it 1-1.
The hosts sought an immediate response and Tomer Hemed’s blushes were spared by the linesman’s flag in their next attack as the striker somehow missed the target when latching on to Beram Kayal’s deflected strike.
Heaton then palmed Sam Baldock’s effort away at his near post, before the forward was replaced by James Wilson, but there was nothing that the England international goalkeeper could do to prevent Brighton from restoring their advantage in first half stoppage time.
Republic of Ireland defender Ward was left dazed and confused when floored by Knockaert’s trickery, following Jamie Murphy’s counter, and the winger shifted the ball on to his right boot before beating Heaton courtesy of an awkward deflection off Keane.
Chris Hughton’s side could’ve extended their lead before Craig Pawson sounded his whistle for the interval.
Heaton collided with his upright to keep Hemed’s header out before the Clarets skipper beat away Knockaert’s follow up.
Brighton started the second half brightly, with Murphy freed by Rosenior’s incisive pass but the midfielder bent his effort around the post.
Murphy was involved again in the 68th minute, manufacturing space down the left hand side with Knockaert and Wilson, before the latter fired in the cross and Heaton plunged low to foil Knockaert.
Vokes’s towering header had Stockdale flying to his upright as the ball whistled past the post before boss Sean Dyche was left fuming by the decision to overlook Keane’s header.
But Burnley came battling back. After Goldson flicked Taylor’s set-piece for a corner - with Joey Barton downed by Dunk - the former Hammer raced to the flag to take the set-piece which led to the equaliser.
Keane lost his marker and made no mistake to convert his fourth goal of the season, his first since the 2-1 win against Bristol City at Ashton Gate in August.