When Brighton & Hove Albion clinched promotion to the Second Division for the very first time, they did so in glorious style. Reserve forward Adrian Thorne plundered five goals against Watford in April 1958 in a 6-0 victory.Here’s the report from the Daily Express that day.
The Albion manager enjoying this triumph, Billy Lane, had been a prolific goalscorer for Watford in the 1930s, once hitting a hat-trick against Clapton Orient in under three minutes in another 6-0 success in December 1933.
Speaking of emphatic wins, the Seagulls ran up a 3-0 scoreline at Vicarage Road in the FA Cup in November 1975. John Vinicombe of The Evening Argus gave a glowing account of this happy away day under Peter Taylor.
Back then, Watford were in the wrong half of Division Four. However in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Hornets staged a remarkable rise up the Football League under Graham Taylor, with ex-Seagulls striker Malcolm Poskett helping the Hornets out of the Second Division in his two-and-a-half-year spell at Vicarage Road from 1980.
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By the time of the return fixture in Division One on New Year’s Day 1983, George Aitken was joint caretaker manager of Albion alongside Jimmy Melia. Aitken had been on Watford’s coaching staff when the Hertfordshire club reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1970. Defeat for the Seagulls in the January 1983 clash looked to be on the cards until Peter Ward pulled out a late equaliser.
When Watford met Brighton in a First Division match in November 1982, with Barnes and Blissett in top form, they had enough power and pace to hand the Seagulls a 4-1 drubbing.