The Arsenal hoodoo was well and truly broken. Having been the Gunners’ whipping boys in the time that Brighton had been a First Division club, the Seagulls achieved a second successive victory over their more distinguished opponents. On Tuesday 7th September 1982, following away thrashings at West Brom (0-5) and Nottingham Forest (0-4), Mike Bailey’s men showed that Goldstone was still a fortress with a superb win.
Here is the match report from the Daily Express:
Arsenal’s £1 million ticket to ride to the League title is already being declared null and void by the rest of soccer.
They have invested heavily in strikers Tony Woodcock and Lee Chapman to provide the finishing touches to a team renowned for outstanding organisation and resilience.
But the Highbury horror story is that Arsenal have managed only one point from their opening four matches.
In fact, after tonight’ fixtures, the club which has never known the ignominy of relegation could be bottom of the First Division [not true. Arsenal were relegated from Division One in 1903-04].
Woodcock has begun his Highbury career with a little more style and panache than his unhappy partner, Lee Chapman.
A goal for Chapman, signed from Stoke, would provide a massive boost for his flagging confidence and he was unlucky not to get one last night with a fine header in the 33rd minute that was hacked off the line by Tony Grealish.
On the hour Chapman tried again from a John Hollins corner but his firm header thudded into the chest of goalkeeper Perry Digweed.
Brighton emerged as victors with a display of guts and determination, following the crisis meeting of all the staff with chairman Mike Bamber on Monday morning.
Internationals Steve Foster and Mike Robinson, who have both been seeking to leave the club, were both left out of the team, along with midfield player Neil McNab.
Gerry Ryan, in for Robinson, scored the all-important goal in the 32nd minute – a firm, incisive finish from close range after clever creative work by Giles Stille and Gary Stevens.
The considerable influence of injured full-back Kenny Sansom and striker Alan Sunderland was missed by Arsenal who are surely capable of much better than this when those two are available for selection again.
The Gunners were hardly helped by the loss of midfield player Brian Talbot at half-time. He had spent most of the opening 45 minutes in obvious pain after a juddering collision with Jimmy Case.
This sweet victory calmed the nerves at the Goldstone, taking Albion out of the relegation zone into 16th position. As for Arsenal, they fell to 21st place by the time the following evening’s games were concluded.
Mike Bailey, who had made a brave team selection, was very happy with outcome:
‘Following our disappointing results at West Bromwich and Nottingham Forest I was delighted with the performance against Arsenal here at the Goldstone on Tuesday. After things went so very wrong at the City Ground we were looking, on Tuesday, for 100 per cent commitment from everyone, and I was very pleased that the lads gave just that against Arsenal.
What had gone wrong was that some of the players had allowed off the field problems, not associated with football, to go onto the field with them and affect their game. As a result some players weren’t able to produce their best form, this shouldn’t have happened, but as a result I had to make changes and it clearly had the desired effect.’