On this day in 1982, Mike Bailey led Brighton to an astonishing 1-0 triumph over Liverpool at Anfield. As Peter Welbourn of the Sunday Express wrote:
The defensive discipline which has been the cornerstone of success on Brighton’s travels emerged triumphant again at Anfield. An untidy goal snatched five minutes before half-time was enough to cost Liverpool vital championship points. Alan Hansen could only watch in despair as Andy Ritchie’s shot struck his knee to skid over the line.
There was further luck for the Seagulls late on when mud played its part. Bob Greaves believed that Liverpool:
…were well beaten by a combination of an own goal and a wicked pitch. Take that moment 13 minutes from time when Grealish committed a horrific back pass to give Rush an equaliser on a plate. The Liverpool man hit the ball towards an empty net from some 12 yards, it suddenly stopped in the mud and was cleared.
Here’s some photos from that pivotal moment:
Keeper Digweed looks helpless here but Foster was able to make the clearance:
No wonder Perry Digweed quipped about the mud after the match: “I think I’ll take a bucketful of this stuff and spread it in the Brighton goalmouth.”
Even so, the good fortune would have counted for little if it wasn’t for the gritty determination that kept the Seagulls in the game despite the second half onslaught by Liverpool. The Evening Argus’ John Vinicombe was moved to write:
For a display of character and defensive ability, Albion’s performance could not be faulted. The spectacle, while being almost entirely one way, was full of excitement and passion as Albion gradually came to terms with the demands imposed Liverpool on visiting sides. But that is not to say that Albion didn’t stretch Liverpool’s defences and there were times when the European champions were forced to sweat it out. Everybody performed beyond the line of duty in this action packed drama and Digweed, brought in on the big occasion, had an excellent game. To come to Anfieid and play like this was the highlight of Albion’s season so far, and reinforced the view that their best games have all been away from the Goldstone.
Both Steve Gatting and Steve Foster had immaculate matches at the back. Despite almost gifting the home side an equaliser with his rush of blood moment, Tony Grealish’s industry and excellent play also caught the eye in helping to take Brighton to 8th in Division One. Following the game, manager Mike Bailey was understandably delighted:
“The result at Liverpool was one of the most satisfying it is possible for a manager to get. Although we were all very happy after the game and it was a good journey home, I don’t think the players realised quite what they had achieved. Not many teams go to Anfield and come away as winers, and I certainly never did it as a player. It just shows how far this club has come in the last few years. Five years it would have been unthinkable for Brighton to have gone to Anfield for a League game and come away as winners.