Leandro Trossard’s hat-trick at Anfield on Saturday was Albion’s first since promotion to the Premier League, and it got us thinking about the best Albion trebles.
There are plenty to choose from, and their range and quality are clear when you consider just a few that failed to make the cut – Leo Ulloa netting the first hat-trick at the Amex against Huddersfield Town in March 2013; Jimmy Case’s three blasts from midfield in the 7-0 thrashing of Charlton Athletic in October 1983; Gordon Smith saving a precious point in the old first division at Coventry from 3-0 down after 64 minutes in October 1980; Ward 4, Mellor 3 in a 7-0 second-half demolition of Walsall in October 1976; and Bryan Wade’s once-in-a-lifetime quadruple – does that count? – against Newcastle in January 1991.
Here, though, are our five of the best – all iconic in their way.
December 21 1979 Peter Ward v Wolves (a, 3-1)
Albion’s first top-flight hat-trick came on a freezing night at Molineux with Alan Mullery’s team second from bottom of the old first division and in need of points. The unsung hero was kit man Glen Wilson, who packed rubber-soled footwear for the players that enabled Ward to glide over the icy surface while his markers struggled to keep their feet. His first and third goals found him skating through a square defence to beat goalkeeper Paul Bradshaw, while the second was a collector’s item – a rare header after Ray Clarke had nodded on a cross from John Gregory. The win began a run of results that included home victories over Crystal Palace and Manchester City and pushed Mullery’s men clear of the drop zone.
August 7 1999 Darren Freeman v Mansfield Town (h, 6-0)
The Brighton-born striker entered the record books when he scored the first Football League goal of the new Millennium, but he was already a fixture in Albion folklore after his debut hat-trick in the first league match at Withdean. Brought to his home-town club by Micky Adams, who had also been his gaffer at Fulham and Brentford, he netted the first ever goal at our new ‘temporary’ home when he lashed a left-foot shot into the roof of the Worthing End net. He added two precise right-foot finishes as Albion celebrated their return to Sussex after two seasons at Gillingham in style.
February 26 2000 Bobby Zamora v Chester City (a, 7-1)
Bobby Z notched the first of his four Albion trebles in only the third game of his spell on loan from Bristol Rovers and the fans began to sit up and take notice of the young striker that Micky Adams had spotted. First, he outpaced a defender before beating goalkeeper Wayne Brown with a low shot. Then he dived low to head home from close range following a corner, before earning the match ball with a coolly taken penalty. Somehow his parent club failed to spot his full potential and Albion were able to bring him back for good the following season for a bargain £100,000.
October 29 2016 Glenn Murray v Norwich City (h, 5-0)
Muzza’s hat-trick – one of four during his Albion career - came against a side that were expected to be among Albion’s closest rivals for a promotion place until this rout. But once Murray had pounced on a heavy first touch from Canaries keeper Michael McGovern to pilfer possession and roll the ball into the empty net – albeit off the near post – there was only one winner. He headed his second from a cross by Jiri Skalak – who would go on to complete his own hat-trick of assists – and then shot home from 18 yards after another defensive howler. The win tightened Albion’s grip on second spot in the table, and they were never out of the automatic promotion places for the rest of the season.
October 1 2022 Leandro Trossard v Liverpool (a, 3-3)
This is the only one of our top five trebles that was not scored in a winning cause, but the fact that it was accomplished on one of the great stages of European football and that the point-saving third came in front of The Kop more than makes up for it. Clever assists from Danny Welbeck and then Solly March set up Trossard’s first two goals, clinically finished with precise left-foot strikes across Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and celebrated with the Albion fans in the Anfield Road end. Then with Albion 3-2 down, Kaoru Mitoma’s cross found the Belgian maestro at the far post to sweep the ball home and complete a memorable first match in charge for new head coach Roberto De Zerbi.