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BLAST FROM THE PAST: READING

20 September 2016

The look back at two previous encounters in the 1970/71 season.


Towards the end of Pat Saward’s first season in charge as Albion boss, his side played Reading twice in just twelve days in April 1971. In both matches, Brighton emerged victorious.

In the Easter fixture at the Goldstone, a first half Kit Napier penalty set the home side on the way, with Dave Turner adding another after the break. At Elm Park, the Third Division match was scoreless at the interval. However, goals from John Templeman, Willie Irvine and Eddie Spearritt helped Brighton to a handsome 3-0 victory. Having been as low as 23rd in mid-March, Albion eventually finished in 14th, while Reading were relegated in 21st position.

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1970/71 season’s highs and lows

August: Alan Gilliver scores the first goal of the Pat Saward era in a 1-1 draw with Rotherham at the Goldstone.

September: With Brighton showing inconsistent form, Saward returns to his old club Coventry to sign Ian Goodwin on loan. Saward eventually becomes known as ‘the Loan Ranger’, such was his propensity to use the loan market.

October: Peter O’Sullivan’s equaliser against Rochdale arrests a poor spell of six goals without a game.

November: While Albion continue to struggle in the Third Division, they notch up a confidence-boosting 4-0 win over Cheltenham Town in the first round of the FA Cup.

December: Nobby Lawton and Kit Napier are both on the scoresheet as Albion record their first back-to-back victories of the season, against Hereford (FA Cup) and Mansfield (Division Three). Saward launches the club’s ‘Buy A Player’ campaign.

January: Albion are knocked out of the FA Cup, losing 1-0 at Cardiff. The side responds by hitting eight goals in their next three matches, including a resounding 3-0 win over Doncaster.

February: A collapse in form sees Brighton fall to 23rd, as Albion face the prospect of a relegation struggle.

March: Bert Murray is signed from the ‘Buy A Player’ fund. Willie Irvine scores in his first two matches, in a 3-2 victory over Fulham and a 3-1 win over Gillingham. Towards the end of the month, his goals give Albion 1-0 wins over Shrewsbury and Bury. A 0-0 draw boosts Brighton further, taking the club out of the relegation zone.

April: Kit Napier hits a goal in each of three successive victories over Aston Villa, Reading and Bradford. Brighton are now in 14th spot, well clear of the drop. 

May: The season ends in a 1-1 draw at Wrexham with Alex Sheridan on the scoresheet.

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