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WITHDEAN YEARS: 2004/05 SEASON ON SEAGULLS TV

7 December 2017

Following their promotion at the Millennium Stadium, Brighton & Hove Albion had another chance to stay afloat in England’s second tier - and it went down to the wire, as Mark McGhee’s team escaped on the final day of the season.

Darren Currie was Albion’s headline summer arrival, signing from Wycombe Wanderers for £200,000, while striker Maheta Molango joined the club after impressing during a two-week trial.

The Swiss forward made a memorable start to his Albion career against Reading on the opening day of the season, as he scored just 12 seconds into his debut, but the Seagulls were beaten 3-2 at the Madejski stadium.

Adam Virgo scored an 89th-minute free-kick to claim a point against Coventry City at the Withdean Stadium, and McGhee soon decided to utilise the full-back’s attacking ability as he switched him into a forward role.

In front of the Sky Camera at the Walkers Stadium, Virgo struck from outside the box to snatch a 1-0 victory for the Seagulls over Leicester City, before he added another a week later against Watford at Vicarage Road.

Another Virgo winner came versus Nottingham Forest at the City Ground - while off the pitch, thousands descended on a Labour Party conference, as they marched along Brighton seafront in protest for Falmer.

The Seagulls wore a special ‘Palookaville’ strip against Sheffield United, as a special gesture for Albion supporter Norman Cook [Fat Boy Slim], and just a few weeks later McGhee’s team secured a narrow 1-0 win over Leeds United.

Three successive defeats put Albion in the relegation zone before a November game against West Ham United at Upton Park, and Guy Butters was the surprise match-winner on a glorious afternoon in the capital.

The Seagulls were dealt a blow when Currie switched to Ipswich Town for £250,000 in January, and they also lost their captain, with Danny Cullip moving to Sheffield United for a fee rising to £400,000.

A third-round FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane followed, and after Richard Carpenter equalised for the Seagulls, Robbie Keane scored a wonder-goal to win it for the north Londoners.

Leon Knight snatched all three points in stoppage time against Sheffield United at Brammell Lane, and the Seagulls started to put some daylight between themselves and the drop-zone.

Mark McCammon made his loan move from Millwall permanent and the striker scored the winning goal against high-flying Sunderland at the Withdean Stadium, as McGhee’s men ran out 2-1 winners.

But six successive defeats put the Seagulls back into the relegation mix by the start of April, before Albion came from behind in three games to secure draws against Leicester, Burnley and West Ham.

A 1-0 victory at Rotherham meant McGhee’s team would go into the final game of the season needing only a draw to survive, but Ipswich were the opponents and they needed a win to give themselves a chance of promotion.

Shefki Kuqi put the Tractor Boys in front after just four minutes, but Virgo equalised six minutes later before a nervy 80 minutes of goalless action which confirmed Albion’s survival in England’s second tier.

Visit Seagulls TV to watch a review of Albion's 2004/05 season at the Withdean Stadium.


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