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1980/81: Gregory’s Leicester Double

By Kieran Cleeves • 30 March 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion shared just one top-flight season alongside Leicester City in the 1980s, and the Seagulls were victorious on both occasions during the 1980/81 season - with full-back John Gregory playing a key role.

The Foxes had just returned to Division one after two seasons in the second tier of English football, and Albion’s fourth meeting with the East Midlands club - first in the top flight - came in December 1980.

Albion travelled to Filbert Street and both clubs found themselves inside the relegation zone at the time, which made the contest a huge opportunity to pull clear of danger.

Gregory, who played as an attacking full-back, fired the winning goal for the Seagulls, which added to Leicester’s woes, as the game was played out in front of 19,570 supporters at Filbert Street.

Move forward a few months and the teams faced off again, this time at the Goldstone Ground, but neither side had been able to escape the drop zone, as they found themselves in trouble with three games remaining.

It was a crucial game on the south coast and defeat for either side looked a fatal outcome in the battle to survive the drop - but fortunately for the Seagulls, it proved a positive day and Gregory was the hero again.

Kevin MacDonald and Michael Robinson scored to make it 1-1, as a tense game unravelled at the Goldstone Ground, but Gregory struck with the pivotal goal to make it 2-1 and seal three points for the hosts, with Leicester finishing the game with nine men.

It was one of four successive victories that Albion strung together to avoid relegation by just two points, and despite the Foxes finishing their campaign with back-to-back wins, they dropped into Division Two in 21st position.

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