Tag Archives: adrian thorne

Brighton up – with a six goal rush


George Harley of the Daily Mirror reported on Brighton’s 6-0 thumping of Watford at the Goldstone in April 1958. The result ensured Brighton’s promotion:

The hour produces the man – and last night Adrian Thorne, 20, a RESERVE forward, was the man of Brighton’s hour of glory.

The stocky, local boy scored FIVE of the six goals that rocketed Brighton into the Second Division for the first time, after thirty-eight years in the Third Division wilderness.

He got three of them in four sensational minutes early in the game.

The 31,038 crowd – thousands more were locked out – went wild with joy when Thorne scored the first after five minutes with his RIGHT foot.

They went even wilder when he got the second after eight minutes from a perfect Howard centre with his HEAD.

They were absolutely delirious with delight when he crashed in the third a minute later with his LEFT FOOT.

By the most fantastic of coincidences, it is just twenty-five years ago that Billy Lane, now Brighton manager, also scored a hat-trick in four minutes – for Watford!

Lane was then an experienced centre-forward, Thorne, a former Brighton Grammar School boy, played his first League game only three month ago – and was at inside right for last night’s vital game only as a deputy for injured Dave Sexton.

Thorne’s normal position is centre-forward. Lane chose him last night to try out a double centre-forward plan with Peter Harburn.

It was incredibly successful – with Harburn decoying Watford defenders out of position, and Thorne punching home the goals through the gaps.

Thorne’s amazing performance inspired Brighton to a display of such controlled and sustained pressure that Watford were overwhelmed in the first half.

Skipper Glen Wilson scored from a penalty for handling by right-back Bobby Bell in the thirty-fifth minute.

Almost direct from the kick-off, Thorne swept through a 30-yard-run to swerve past Harrop and drive home the fifth goal.

The scene at half-time was incredible. Hats, coats, newspapers and programmes were flung in the air all round the ground.

Hundreds of spectators poured across the pitch to mob Thorne. Police had to rescue him.

Brighton’s five-goal lead was all the more remarkable because they only had ten fit men from the twelfth minute. Outside right Dennis Gordon injured a knee and limped for the rest of the game.

With the prize of promotion assured – a draw was all they needed to pip Brentford – they were content in the second half to hold Watford’s orthodox and predictable attacks.

But a minute from the end Thorne completed a night he will never forget by hooking home a Wilson free-kick for his fifth goal.

The crowd engulfed the layers, carrying them shoulder-high back to the dressing room.


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Brighton score six at Highbury


In ‘The Arsenal Story’ from 1972, a year after the Gunners had famously won the League and cup double, football journalist and author Deryk Brown wrote:

‘The Highbury of today is the best possible tribute to Herbert Chapman and the Arsenal of yesterday. Even today it is a temple of football. The present West Stand was opened by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) in December 1932. The East Stand, the one the players come out of, was quietly opened before a match with Grimsby Town in October 1936. Even today it is a temple of football… It is hard to imagine how any young player who visits Highbury can avoid coming away with the impression that Arsenal is the club.

Hardly surprising for a club steeped in tradition and success that Arsenal’s playing record at Highbury was formidable. A home defeat sometimes happened, but a thrashing was rare. At the time, Arsenal’s record home defeat was 0-5 by Huddersfield Town in February 1925. It was a scoreline to be emulated by Chelsea against a young Gunners side in the League Cup in November 1999. Given this, Arsenal apart, it is hard to find in the record books which other club has scored six goals at Highbury… apart from Brighton!

Ten years before Arsenal began their ‘double’ season, Brighton drew Rotherham at Millmoor in the FA Cup fourth round in 1960, having won at Bath in the previous round. While the Millers and Albion were both in Division Two, promotion candidates Rotherham were the undoubted favourites. Indeed, in the previous round the Millers had sensationally knocked out Arsenal after three matches, drawing 1-1 at Milmoor and 2-2 at Highbury before triumphing 2-0 at Hillsbrough.

However, Albion were not going to be overawed. As Roy Jennings said in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly in December 1961:


‘We had been in three tremendous games against Rotherham. We had two gruelling drawn games of 1-1 against the tough Yorkshiremen at Millmoor and Goldstone Road [sic], and the second replay was at Highbury.’

On Monday evening on 8th February 1960, a bumper crowd of 32,864 travelled to Arsenal Stadium, where the Rotherham already had the advantage of experience, having held the Gunners there in the previous round. Under floodlights, the Brighton v Rotherham match was played in an incredible atmosphere. Jennings quipped:

‘To everyone’s surprise, we thrashed Rotherham 6-0 in that game. They must have been more tired than we were!’

Albion's fourth goal, scored by Adrian Thorne

Albion’s fourth goal, scored by Adrian Thorne

Oh, how the floodgates opened! Adrian Thorne, who got both Albion goals in the first two matches, opened the scoring again. Brighton led 2-0 at half-time before a glorious spell of three goals in seven minutes early on in the second half turned the match into a famous triumph. Not least for Bill Curry, who hit a hat-trick or, indeed, outside-left Freddie Jones, who had joined Brighton from Arsenal in 1958 and scored on the night.

Rotherham's Ironside gets caught up in Brighton's celebrations. Here he is with Curry and a delighted Brighton supporter.

Rotherham’s Ironside gets caught up in Brighton’s celebrations. Here he is with Curry and a delighted Brighton supporter.

Brighton went down 2-1 at Preston in the next round, but nothing can take away from their feat of scoring six goals at Highbury, home of the Marbled Halls. It was better than anything that Arsenal managed that season.


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Rare photo: Hula hooping at the Goldstone

Here are Steve Burtenshaw, Roy Jennings and Adrian Thorne all getting fit at the Goldstone Ground:


Portslade-born, super-hoopin’ Steve Burtenshaw enjoyed a sixteen year career at Brighton as a wing-half from 1951 to 1964, being granted a testimonial match in November 1963. He became assistant coach the following year, before beginning a long association with Arsenal. He also had spells as coach at QPR and Everton.

In the centre, hip-gyratin’ Roy Jennings was an Albion colleague for almost all of that period, signing for the club in May 1952 before being released on a free transfer to Crawley at the end of the 1963/64 campaign. Signed initially as a full-back, Jennings’ conversion in a stopper centre-half in Christmas 1958 did so much to preserve the club’s hard-won Second Division status.

As for sharp-shootin’ Adrian Thorne, it was the five goals of this Hove lad in the thrashing of Watford in April 1958 that made sure Albion were to enter the Second Division for the first time. Making his debut in the January of the promotion year, Thorne made 84 appearances for the Albion, scoring 44 goals before putting in a transfer request and leaving for Plymouth Argyle in June 1961.

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100 Years of the Albion

A pleasant illustrated history of the Albion, from the Brighton v Bournemouth programme from September 2001:


Click image to expand it.

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