Well, what a difference thirty years makes. Yesterday, Oscar Garcia’s Brighton were left reeling from a 3-2 defeat at Charlton. On 23rd December 1978, the outcome at Valley Parade was rather different as Athletic were annihilated 3-0 by Mullery’s men with striker Malcolm Poskett blagging a hat-trick. Here it is reported in the matchday programme (against Newcastle):
The trip to the Valley in South East London last Saturday provided a Christmas present for the many loyal Albion supporters who made the trip and it was one even they might not have expected. A display of “total” football from our lads saw Charlton Athletic completely outclassed and although one hesitates to mention the word, it had ‘promotion” written all over it.
Anyone looking at the Second Division table on Christmas Eve and comparing it with last season will see that our record compares more than favourably with the same time last year and from that same table it seems clear that far less than 56 points will take a club into Division One this campaign.
South East London this season has provided us with our two best away wins, the other being against Millwal at the Den.
The game was a personal triumph for Malcolm Poskett who in scoring three, notched his eighth goal of the season and his second hat-trick since signing last season from Hartlepool the aggression of Malcolm can clearly be seen in the picture above as he shoots for goal.
Right from the off the match promised entertainment and a shot from Teddy Maybank and two threatening runs by Peter Sayer gave our supporters an indication of just how Albion were going to play.
Although Albion had been superior in every department they went in still level, but the lads were no less determined coming out for the second-half. Quickly the pattern of play was reestablished with Peter Sayer firing’just wide and then came the moment two train loads of Albion supporters had been waiting for.
Twenty-one minutes into the half Teddy Maybank chipped the ball neatly from the bye-line and Malcolm Poskett nodded home his sixth goal of the season.
Two minutes later the story was even better. A corner was won by Andy Rollings who headed goalwards, the ball was blocked but ran free for Poskett to shoot between keeper and post and it was two.
Charlton were stunned and Albion elated. All out attack had left the Londoners dizzy and bewildered and with nine minutes left Poskett completed his hat-trick with as cool a goal as one could wish.
Teddy Maybank made the space with his head and the confidence was there for Poskett to round Wood and start the celebrations.
Those were very real and no team could wish to start the holiday period better than with a 3-0 win away from home. Not only was the result just what the doctor ordered but the manner of the performance was one that would make Albion, yet again, many friends.
Graham Moseley had a welcome quiet day in goal while fullbacks Williams and Cattlin found their colleagues so confident that they too could join the attack. Andy Rollings and Mark Lawrenson were safe and sure at the back and also found time to move forward.
The midfield trio of Horton, O’Sullivan and Sayer were outstanding and in this “engine room” Albion played their best of the season.
Gerry Ryan had probably his best game away from home, his confidence seen right, while Teddy Maybank was his usual tireless, spare no effort, self.
The game, though, will be remembered as “Poskett’s match’.
He made goalscoring look easy and he could hardly have wished for a better Christmas present but one which surely even he won’t mind sharing with the fans.
Yes it was quite a day at “Happy Valley’.
Following on the back of a 2-0 home win against Luton, the previous week, the triumph at Charlton confirmed that Brighton were serious challengers for promotion. It also reinforced the impression that Poskett, a lanky striker from Hartlepool, now in the number eight shirt, was a worthy stand-in for the off-colour Peter Ward who hadn’t hit a League goal since early October. It was Poskett’s second hat-trick for Brighton. The first, also away, came in a 4-0 whipping of Bristol Rovers in April, the previous season.