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.