Brighton’s emphatic 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns in the 3rd Round of the League Cup in September 1976 is remembered with glee by supporters of the time.
Following on the back of the replay win against First Division Ipswich Town the previous round, the score confirmed that the Sussex side, topping Division Three under new boss Alan Mullery, were now becoming a force within English football.
It also helped to heal some of the scars from the Walton & Hersham and Leatherhead matches a few years previously. How sweet it was to be on the right end of a cup upset! Albion’s triumph over the Throstles was game two in a prolific spell when Brighton hit a remarkable twenty goals in just five matches, including those 7-2 and 7-0 victories over York City and Walsall respectively.
Here’s how John Davies reported the match for a newspaper at the time:
Peter Ward, Brlghton’s 21-year-old striker who was playing non-League football a year ago, was the hero of this dramatic League Cup win.
He scored both goals for Alan Mullery’s Third Division stunners.
And manager Mullery said afterwards: “Fantastic. We didn’t nick that game. We won it on merit.
“Now all I hope is that the lads draw one of the top clubs at home in the next round. After beating Ipswich and West Brom. we fear no-one.”
The despair of West Brom reached its low point just before the end when Scottish winger Willie Johnston was sent off for aiming a kick at the referee.
Johnston …this was the 10th time In a fiery career that he had been ordered off… disputed a free-kick, and Derek Lloyd of Worcester let play go on for a few seo0uds before sending him off after consulting a linesman.
West Brom player-manager Johnny Giles said afterwards that Johnston faced disciplinary action by the club.
Yet, fittingly, the final memory of this cracking Cup triumph was a happy one. Giles had sportingly joined the standing ovation to the red-shirted Brighton heroes and personally applauded them off the field.
What a sizzling performance it was for Ward, who only last year was playing for Burton Albion. He put the First Division talents of West Brom on the rack after three minutes, going through brilliantly to capitalise on a good move between Ian Mellor and Gerry Fell.
Surely now the shrewd promptings of Giles and the extra class of Division One would bring West Brom back into the game? They did in fact control it for a spell. But the combination of Ward and Mellor in the front line spelled trouble for the Midlanders whenever Brighton moved forward.
They were in the lead on merit and, what is more, deserved to go further ahead on the haft-hour.
The West Bromwich defender apparently expected him to slip the ball to colleague Mellor, running on his left.
Instead, Ward crashed home a splendid shot.
Quite excitingly, I have been sent footage of the goals against the ‘other’ Albion. So, here are the two Peter Ward goals for you to enjoy:
If that’s not enough, here’s an audio clip featuring the match report from Radio Brighton: