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11 June 2017

The Argus
Hat-trick scorer Darren Freeman celebrates against Mansfield Town.

Brighton & Hove Albion marked their return to the city with an emphatic 6-0 victory over Mansfield Town at Withdean, following two seasons of groundsharing at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium – some 75 miles away.

Two years after leaving the Goldstone, the Seagulls returned home for their opening fixture of the 1999/00 Division Three season, under the guidance of newly-appointed manager Micky Adams.

Albion lined up with numerous new signings that Adams recruited over the summer, including former Brentford pair Charlie Oatway and Darren Freeman, as well as Andy Crosby and Paul Rogers.

The game was watched by 5,882 supporters, sat around the athletics track, and for the Albion fans in attendance, it proved a memorable game for all the right reasons.

The Seagulls were handed an advantage after just 11 minutes when David Kerr received a straight red card for using his elbow, and just three minutes later, Freeman broke the deadlock with a goal on his Albion debut.

Freeman secured his brace in the 20th minute after rounding the goalkeeper and rolling the ball home, before Rod Thomas cut inside and found the bottom corner to make it 3-0 after the break.

Albion continued to dominate their opponents and Freeman wrapped up his hat-trick in the 70th minute. Aiden Newhouse, who had joined from Swansea City, then struck with a late double to make it 6-0, as the Seagulls went top of the league.

ALBION: Ormerod; Hobson, Crosby, Wilder, McPherson; Hart, Rogers, Oatway (Armstrong 80), Campbell; Thomas (Cameron 67), Freeman (Newhouse 73).

SUBS NOT USED: Johnson, Mayo.

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