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Club News


25 November 2017

Ahead of today's meeting at Old Trafford, we look at the 12 meetings between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United during the club’s four-year spell in England’s top flight, stretching from 1979 through to 1983.

After sealing promotion to Division One in the 1978/79 season - following a 3-1 win at Newcastle United on the final day of the season - the Seagulls prepared for their first season in England’s top division.

The club’s first-ever league meeting against the Red Devils came in October 1979, but Alan Mullery’s team went down 2-0 in front of 52,641 supporters at Old Trafford, as goals from Lou Macari and Steve Coppell made the difference.

With Albion battling to survive in their first season in the top flight, United visited the Goldstone Ground in March looking to complete a league double. But under the guidance of former Albion player Dave Sexton, United were held to a goalless draw by the Seagulls.

As well as their league meetings during the 1980/81 season, the teams also met twice in the FA Cup in January 1981, but the Lancashire side won three of their four meetings, with Albion claiming a 2-2 draw in the first cup tie at Old Trafford.

Mickey Thomas and Mike Duxbury found the back of the net for the hosts, but goals from Brian Horton, and Andy Ritchie, who Albion had recently signed from Manchester United, ensured the game finished level.

Albion’s search for a victory against United continued past the 1981/82 campaign, as the Lancashire side, then managed by Ron Atkinson, claimed another double over the Seagulls, with a 2-0 win at Old Trafford followed by a 1-0 success at the Goldstone.

But Albion’s wait for a victory against United ended in November 1982, and it was Peter Ward’s winning goal that sealed a narrow 1-0 victory at the Goldstone, which proved to be the first of another four meetings between the sides that season.

The Seagulls then drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture to claim a total of four points off Atkinson’s team, and it was Steve Gatting and Arthur Albiston that scored the goals in what was expected to be their final meeting of the season.

However, after the Seagulls memorably reached the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium - following victories over Newcastle United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday - Atkinson’s United side stood in the way of a famous cup success.

In front of almost 100,000 supporters at England’s national stadium, Gordon Smith gave the Seagulls a 1-0 lead in the cup final, before Frank Stapleton and Ray Wilkins swung the game in United’s favour.

But in the 87th minute, Gary Stevens fired home from close range to make it 2-2 - and after Smith came agonisingly close to winning the game in the closing stages, a replay was forced at Wembley just five days later.

It proved to be a forgetful Thursday night for the Seagulls, as Jimmy Melia’s team went down 4-0 to end their applaudable run in the cup - with Bryan Robson (2), Norman Whiteside and Arnold Muhren scoring the goals.

But 34 years on, the Seagulls travel to Old Trafford this afternoon in the Premier League, and Chris Hughton’s team will be looking to record the club’s first-ever victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

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