Tag Archives: peter ward

Horton leads Brighton to glory

While he was with Luton Town, Brian Horton took the time to reflect upon the greatest moment in his career, winning promotion to the First Division with Brighton, after a 3-1 victory at Newcastle. This is from Shoot! Magazine:

Brian Horton meticulously gathered together the contents of his kit bag for the most imporrant match of his life. Then, just as carefully, he made sure he had not forgotten the lucky charm that is his constant companion.

A Sphinx, given to him while he was playing for Brighton in the Third Division, has not left his keyring since.

Horton explains: “One of our supporters handed it to me, saying the Sphinx would bring me good luck, That night we played at Lincoln and Steve Piper, who was with me at the time, and myself each scored a goal.” So Horton, now doing the same inspiring captain’s job at Luton as he did with Brighton, was not without the key-ring when his team made the trip from the South • Coast to play Newcastle at St. James’ Park on May 5th, 1979.

Brighton needed to win to be certain of gaining promotion to Division One for the first time. There could be few more daunting trips than to the heart of Geordieland.

Horton, a tenacious midfield player, recalls: “We travelled to Newcastle by train on the Wednesday before the match, played golf on the Thursday and trained on Friday. Alan Mullery, our manager, wanted to get us in as relaxed a frame of mind as possible.

Goal 1: Brian Horton

Goal 1: Brian Horton

“I managed to score an early goal with a near-post header from a corner. When I think about it even now, I can almost feel the ball hitting my head. It is probably the most important goal I’ve ever scored and it gave us the perfect start.

“Peter Ward and Gerry Ryan added further goals to give us a 3-0 lead at half-time.”

Goal 2: Peter Ward

Goal 2: Peter Ward

Goal 3: Gerry Ryan

Goal 3: Gerry Ryan

“Newcastle pulled one back in the second-half, but we’d done enough in our superb performance before the interval. We came home the same night and the champagne hardly stopped flowing all the way from Newcastle to Brighton. There were hundreds of fans on the train as well, so the atmosphere was marvellous.

“When we arrived back at Brighton in the middle of the night there were thousands of people to greet us and there were memorable celebrations when we went round the town the next day.” Horton was a significant figure in Luton’s promotion last season.

He says the two campaigns were different: “Everybody expected Luton to go up and we were clearly the best team.
“But at Brighton, we’d missed out a couple of times in tight finishes and we realised that it was imperative we made it.” Horton received a Second Division Championship medal with Luton last season, but did not get any medal for leading Brighton to the First Division. Players from clubs finishing second or third do not receive any momento from the League.

“But I do have my lucky Sphinx to remind me of Brighton’s day of glory.”

Horton still sees some members of the Brighton side that never failed to finish in the first four of either Division Three or Two in four successive seasons.

Whenever he wants to recall that memorable day in May at Newcastle, he needs merely to insert the television recording in his video.

“Every now and again I watch it,” he says. “It always makes me feel good.”

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Almost there!

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John Vinicombe’s report from the Evening Argus on Brighton’s 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers, in their last home match of the 1978/79 season:

The crock of gold that is the First Division is shimmering up there at St James’ Park, Newcastle.

It is there to be taken by Albion, who must not only win the battle on the pitch but prevail in a war of nerves that took a heavy toll of their rivals while they overcame Blackburn Rovers.

The last match at the Goldstone of this marvellously exhilarating campaign set Albion up to snatch the prize of prizes – a place among the coveted elite.

Brian Horton led his players in a lap of honour. Blackburn most sportingly clapped their conquerors from the pitch. These were memorable moments. Now Albion prepare for the final hurdle. At St James’ Park, they will be cheered by an army of admirers travelling by air, rail, and road. A win will take them into the First Division without any arguments: anything less must depend on other results.

In their present mood, Albion are perfectly capable of winning in the grand manner. The championship could be theirs by twenty-to-five on Saturday.

They have shrewdly taken matches one by one, and were well aware that beating Blackburn was absolutely vital.

This was the game that could have gone horribly wrong (shades of Blackburn’s recent wins at Stoke and Sunderland), but Albion never looked like losing although I wouldn’t care to relive the last ten minutes.

Great credit must go to Albion for keeping their heads after the Easter Saturday defeat at Cardiff City. Subsequently, Cardiff spoiled a few cards, culminating in the sensational win at Sunderland that dispelled City’s relegation fears.

Newcastle will not yield without a fight, and I cannot take seriously the story going the rounds that they might be a pushover because Sunderland in the First Division would affect their gates.

Of course, there is no love lost between the traditional rivals of the North – East but can you imagine a manager like Bill McGarry demanding anything less of his players than 100 per cent?

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There has been stress on Albion, who have been in the top three since the 3-0 win at Charlton on December 23. Manager Alan Mullery has proved an inspirational motivator and Brian Horton quite the most outstanding captain the club has had, certainly since the war.

These redoubtable qualities were fully tested when Blackburn arrived no longer tortured over doubts of staying up. They came knowing full well that Division 3 is their scene next season. It ever a team stood to upset the favourites, it was Rovers.

Fears of a slip-up were partially justified as Albion were without Peter O’Sullivan, and had to re-jig with a new formation on the left. It didn’t quite come off, but in terms of chances created Albion outclassed Rovers.

Instead of being consumed by their own fears, Albion took early command, and the work rate of Teddy Maybank, who chased everything and won most of the balls in the air, typified the spirit. Tiring players found that extra half yard, and rovers were unable to stage a third sensation of the season.

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The 18th minute opener by Maybank that bulleted through a cloud of smoke was grabbed with tigerish tenacity. Whoever hurled the canister from the South Stand may have distracted goalkeeper John Butcher but it would have taken a wonderful save to have prevented Maybank scoring.

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From that point on, Rovers thrashed about in a fog of they own making. They hadn’t a clue about picking up Peter Ward, who had a splendid match, while their star man, Duncan McKenzie, seldom shook off the shackles imposed by Paul Clark.

Watching Andy Rollings it was difficult to believe that here was the player who needed assistance in boarding the train from Cardiff a fortnight ago. Then the head was temporarily down! Rollings feared a break, and in the next match Mark Lawrenson snapped an arm in two places.

The rapid return of Rollings to fitness has been an important factor. He not only read the game well but scored the all-important clincher early into the second half beyond Rover’s reach.

The foraging of John Bailey, one of the best left-backs we have seen at the Goldstone, and Noel Brotherstone’s fondness for varying the point of attack often spelled danger, but in all honesty the 2-1 scoreline let Rovers off rather lightly.

Quite early on, Ward was unlucky to hit the bar, and he might have scored at the half-hour, only Butcher blocked bravely. Malcolm Poskett on the left wing for the first time got into many good positions, but just couldn’t finish. But he never gave up, and on effort alone was worth his place.

And for sheer brilliance of reflexes Eric Steele once again proved why he is first choice goalkeeper at the Goldstone. There had been one nail-biting moment when a pass back from Rollings bobbled just past the post. And another two-thirds of the way through when Mike Rathbone’s shot deflected off Horton and against the far post where Peter Sayer pounced to clear.

Steele’s moment of brilliance came at 78 minutes when Martin Fowler’s shot clipped off Maybank’s backside. In a split second he changed direction to turn it round.

He hadn’t much chance four minutes from time with John Aston’s beautifully curled free-kick.

For ITV’s footage of the match, watch this:

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They said he was too small

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In Peter Ward’s first ever interview with Shoot! magazine in the summer of 1976, he talks happily about becoming an overnight sensation at the Goldstone Ground:

Peter Ward, Brighton’s scoring bombshell, is still learning to adjust to the fact he has actually made it into the ranks of professional footballers.

You can’t really blame him either – he had grown used to people saying he was far too small ever to make the grade.

He sayS: “l always wanted to be a footheller, but so many people told me I was too small that I began to believe them. I never even got a game for Derby Schoolboys – my home-town – because they reckoned I was too tiny.

“1 agree I was •a little ‘un – I was only just four feet eight inches when I left school. But I always felt I had what it took, even though no one seemed interested.”

•So, with the League clubs definitely not beating a path to his front door, Peter decided to become an apprentice fitter and to simply concentrate on playing for local League sides in Derby.

But the years brought extra inches and pounds – and, finally, his big opportunity.

Neighbouring Southern League club Burton Albion spotted his potential and snapped him up when he was 18. Peter proved them right by grabbing 26 goals in his only season with them.

Then Brighton boss Peter Taylor, no stranger to the area, heard of his skills, went for a look – and promptly signed him for £4,000 last year.

And when Taylor unleashed him on to the startled Third Dlvlsion, Peter repaid his faith in him by scoring six goals in his eight games – enough to bring several First Division scouts to the Goldstone Ground.

Now, at 20 and standing five feet seven inches and weighing 10 stone, Peter is hoping he can establish himself even further next season.

He says: “Everything happened very quickly for me last season and I am still getting used to it. For a start, I found it difficult to settle down at first because I was not used to full-time training – we only trained a couple of nights a week at Burton,

“I got over that problem and scored 20 goals for the reserves – but I never expected my first-team chance to come so quickly, It was a big shock to be asked to take over from Fred Binney.

“But now I have had my taste of first-team action I am hungry for more.

“I feel my main strength is I am quick on the turn and am always looking for goals — and I’m not worried about my height or weight any longer.”

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Great Albion Kits: 1975/76 Away

Here is a replica of the striking green Umbro away kit that Peter Taylor’s Brighton side wore for a single season, in 1975/76:

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With yellow numbering on the back, it is best known as the kit that Peter Ward wore on his goalscoring debut for Brighton at eventual Division Three champions Hereford United in March 1976:

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In that match, it was worn with white shorts and green socks:

It was also the kit when Brighton won 1-0 at Selhurst Park in September 1975, thanks to Barry Butlin’s goal.

However, there were some occasions when it was necessary for the shirt to be coupled with blue shorts, such as the FA Cup 2nd Round match at Gillingham in December 1975, when Albion triumphed 1-0 in a rare away victory for Taylor’s men:

Peter O'Sullivan in action against Gillingham but it is Gerry Fell that gets the only goal.

Peter O’Sullivan in action against Gillingham but it is Gerry Fell that gets the only goal.

I’m not sure if Albion players found it hard to spot each other when playing on a plush grassy field (surely a rarity in the Third Division in those days?), but the green Umbro shirts gave way to some red ones at the start of the following campaign.

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Back on the goal trail with Peter Ward

Issue 13 of Football Handbook proved lucky for Brighton & Hove Albion fans. This partwork featured the Seagulls’ miniature striker, Peter Ward, being hacked down by a ruthless Blackpool defender:

'I get clobbered every game," says Brighton' s star striker Peter Ward. And here's one time it was worth it. Ward wins a penalty from Blackpool last season.

‘I get clobbered every game,” says Brighton’s star striker Peter Ward. And here’s one time it was worth it. Ward wins a penalty from Blackpool last season.

Inside is a superb interview with Wardy, really capturing what it’s like being a renowned goalscorer and the extra attention he received:

‘It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against – I still get clobbered all the time. And they hit you hard. The only way to get back at them is to play well or, even better, just score.’

Now and again ‘Match of the Day’ deserts the First Division for highlights of the action from football’s ‘lower reaches’.
Sometimes it’s dreary but often it’s a delight – and the producer who took his cameras to Hove on 18 September I976 could hardly believe his luck.

Not only did the Third Division match produce the amazing scoreline of 7-2. It also made a star out of an unknown …a lad named Peter Ward.

One goal in Brighton’s crushing of York City made Saturday night viewers take note for the chat in the pub at Sunday lunchtime . …a goal scored by Ward.

Smoothly, effortlessly, Ward cut inside and danced past several defenders before slamming a right-foot shot high into the corner of the net.

It was clear to everyone that here was someone special – his control at speed, his ability to turn defenders and, above all, his precision finishing.

And there was expression in his play that made a mockery of the ‘fear element’ that had spread through every level of the game.

Yet there was a time when Ward himself was in danger of being a victim of the ‘too small’ syndrome.

‘I got no encouragement at all at school,’ says Peter. ‘Just before I left they came round asking everyone what they wanted to be.

‘When I said a footballer they laughingly said, “Oh no, you’re too small”. I believed them and ended up in a factory
as an apprentice fitter.’

His football was played in local parks until Burton Albion took his talent into the Premier Division of the Southern League. Little over a season later Brighton made the offer of full-time football.

‘After knowing what it’s like to clock in and out, I’d have signed for tuppence.’

A quiet start to his pro career might have been expected – certainly not the 36 goals he scored as Brighton scorched into the Second Division.

Almost inevitably the goals dried up a bit the following season and Brighton paid out over £200,000 for Teddy Maybank to take some of the load off Ward.

Success was not immediate.

Brave as well as skilful. . . Ward keeps close control despite the attentions of a defender who dwarfs him.

Brave as well as skilful. . .
Ward keeps close control despite the attentions of a defender who dwarfs him.

Ward says: ‘I’d played alongside Ian Mellor for a season and a half and we’d built up an understanding.

When they bought Ted to replace him we didn’t start off too well. I was going through a bad patch and he was trying to justify his fee.

‘But, all of a sudden, it just clicked, and we played really well together for four or five games. Then he was injured and had to have a cartilage operation.’ Brighton went straight back into the transfer market and Malcolm Poskett became Ward’s next striking partner.

These upheavals did not help Peter’s play and he finished the season with 17 goals – plenty for most players but well below the standard he had set himself.

Peter doesn’t mind the pressure. ‘I’m glad the fans expect more of me. It’s a challenge when they want you to do something out of the ordinary.’

He accepts the stick he takes every week, too.

‘It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. I still get clobbered all the time. They all hit you hard. The only way to get back at them is to play well or score.’ Peter remembers in detail the goals he scores, but he has no set plan for finding the net.

‘I like the ball played to my chest or feet, in and around the box. It’s pointless me trying to turn a defender on the half-way line – I can’t shoot from there!

‘I don’t know what goes through my mind when the ball’s coming to me. I’m just aware of the defence and the goal behind them. All I want to do is beat defenders until the goal is big enough to shoot at.’

Indefinable instinct gets him into scoring positions in crowded areas, but control counts just as much.

‘I’m always working on my close control. You can never be too good. I’m always trying to improve, always sharpening up.’ After training you’ll see him practising shots on the turn with an apprentice marking him.

Last season’s lean spell helped in terms of attitude.

‘It helped me get my head down a bit.’

All the Brighton heads went down a bit when Spurs pipped them for promotion on goal difference last season.

‘When the whistle went at the end of our final match against Blackpool we thought we’d done it.’

But they hadn’t. Disappointment was acute.

‘I’ve never played in the First Division, so it’s something I’ve got to do. It’s no good looking back when I’m 35 and saying, Oh well, I was good, I made a bit of money.’ Amazing to think that Burton Albion got £4,500 for the player that Brighton manager Alan Mullery considers ‘priceless’. Peter himself concedes: ‘They’ll make a profit if they sell me, won’t they?’

In the feature, there is also a stunning sequence of Ward on the rampage, capturing the close-control and inhibited running that made his so exciting to watch in the late 1970s:

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Albion slogan badges

Measuring 35mm x 35mm, here are some beauties from the late 1970s:

badges8

With their fun, informal typeface, they were perfect to help young Seagulls supporters to declare their love and enthusiasm for their side.

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Player badges from the late-1970s

A trip to the home of Nick from Fishergate led me to scanning these rather lovely 65mm x 65mm badges from the late 1970s:

Top row: Gary Winstanley, Mark Lawrenson, Paul Clark Middle row: Andy Rollings, Peter Ward, Chris Cattlin Bottom row: Brian Horton, Gary Williams, Peter O'Sullivan

Top row: Graham Winstanley, Mark Lawrenson, Paul Clark
Middle row: Andy Rollings, Peter Ward, Chris Cattlin
Bottom row: Brian Horton, Gary Williams, Peter O’Sullivan

Apparently, according to Nick, there were shops along Sackville Road, Hove, that used to sell badges such as these on Saturdays, to make a bit of money as supporters made their way to the Goldstone Ground on Old Shoreham Road.

I was actually given a set of these when I was about five or six in the mid-1980s, as I decided that making badges was a very fine hobby. So, yes, I took off the head and shoulder images of the various Brighton players and replaced them with my own designs. Silly me.

Suffice to say that I won’t be doing that with these!

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Peter Ward’s England Under-21s hat-trick

wardengland

On 31 August 1977, new England boss (and Hove resident) Ron Greenwood chose 22 year-old Albion striker Peter Ward as one of two over-age players for the England Under-21 squad to face Norway in a European Championship qualifier. As Alan Mullery explained in the ‘He Shot. He Scored. It Must Be Peter Ward’ biography by Matthew Horner:

He spoke about putting on an England Under-21 game at the Goldstone and asked what sort of crowd I thought he’d get. I told him an Under-21 game would probably get a crowd of between 8,000 and 10,000 but if Peter Ward played you’d probably get nearer to 20,000. He said ‘Are you sure?’ and I told him how much everybody loved Peter in Brighton.

Ron did pick him and played him, and it was a sell-out. Ron was delighted – the night was a great success.

In Horner’s book, the author mentions how matchday staff were falsely under the impression that the stadium had swelled to its 33,500 capacity, and turned many fans away. This led to the rather more modest, but still impressive, 18,500 actual attendance. The club also invested £40,000 in new floodlights that enabled television coverage of evening matches. However, after the main fuses were blown when they were switched on, an ad-hoc solution was found by Seeboard. Because of the success of this, you can enjoy Wardy’s goals here:

In the euphoria following this match, there was immediate media clamour for Ward to make his full England debut. Hardly surprising as the national team needed to score a hatful against Luxembourg in an ill-fated attempt to qualify for the World Cup in Argentina.

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Ryan lords it over Fulham

A photo of star-striker Peter Ward against Fulham in 1978/79 was featured in Roy of the Rovers magazine:

wardfulham3-0

However, it was Gerry Ryan that stole the headlines in October 1978 as the Seagulls won 3-0 at the Goldstone. Here is the match report by Tony Roche of the Sunday Mirror:

Brighton’s new winger Gerry Ryan hit two goals and lorded it over Fulham.

Before the destruction, manager Alan Mullery made his Albion men sit through a film of their hammering last week at Crystal Palace.

Fulham, with 12 points from their previous seven games, paraded their new signing £80,000 John Beck from Coventry. But it wasn’t their day.

Mullery said: “I made the lads watch the whole 90 minutes of last week’s match. And they saw their own shortcomings. Fulham suffered as a result and for me and Teddy Maybank, it is always nice to beat your old team.”

The first half riddled with frustrating back-passes, narrowly went to Brighton.

In front of a shirt-sleeved crowd, Brighton weathered Fulham’s early assaults and slowly got a grip in midfield where man-of-the-match Brian Horton dominated.

Fulham seem capable of absorbing the pressure until an 18th minute moment of indecision by Peyton.

Horton’s right-wing throw bounced in the box and as Peyton hesitated, Ryan hooked the ball into the empty net.

Evans (dissent) and Beck (foul) were booked in the space of six minutes, shortly after the goal.

Fulham rallied in the second half and Graham Moseley did well to hold a powerful Gale header at full stretch.

But once again lose concentration cost Fulham dear. Evans fouled Ward and as Rollings curled in the free-kick, Horton burst between Gale and Money to bullet header wide of Peyton.

Fulham had their chances – both falling to Davies. He did well to create space only to shoot wide.

Horton reserved the best for last, whipping through a glorious ball in the 90th minute to release Ryan on the right.

The Irishman sprinted into the area, seemed to take too long as he sidestepped defenders then coolly found Peyton’s bottom right-hand corner.

The day’s big duel was between Rollings and Guthrie. Rollings came out on top to help Brighton reach fourth spot in the Second Division.

Ryan’s goals seemed to give Albion a more immediate return for their £80,000 spending than Fulham had for gaining John Beck for the same figure. The Seagulls signing had scored in the previous month in the 5-1 slaughtering of Preston North End. By the end of the season, the Irish winger and midfielder had amassed 35 League appearances for his new side, scoring nine goals including the final one in the famous fixture at Newcastle.

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From this point on, Gerry Ryan developed a habit of getting notable goals in encounters with the best sides, such as the only goal in the famous victory against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in November 1979, the winner against Arsenal in September 1983, not to mention those FA Cup goals against Liverpool in February 1983 and January 1984.

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Peter Ward’s magic debut at Hereford

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You have a tough away fixture at the League leaders. What do you do? You drop your top scorer in favour of a slender chap who has not yet kicked a ball in league football. Strangely, it worked.

From the Evening Argus, covering this famous match from 26th March 1976:

Albion improved their promotion hopes with a brave display at Hereford, although the two top scoring sides of Division 3 played nothing like to form.

After three successive away defeats, it was vital that Albion stopped the slide, and they showed enough grit to have warranted both points. Indeed, Dixie McNeill’s 53rd minute equaliser was seen on TV action replay to have been punched in. Had either referee Jim Bent or his linesman been sighted, the goal must have been disallowed.

Nevertheless, the 1-1 draw was a fair result for Albion survived not a few anxious moments after 20-year-old Peter Ward blasted them ahead at 50 secs, and earned himself a place in the record books.

The lightweight striker, who has netted 20 goals for the Reserves, became only the third player to score in the first minute of his League career.

Ward shoots for goal...

Ward shoots for goal…

Ward (out of shot) is off the mark as O'Sullivan (no 8) celebrates

Ward (out of shot) is off the mark as O’Sullivan (no 8) celebrates

A £4,000 close-season signing from Burton Albion, Ward has been substitute three times, joined the ranks of illustrious players like Bill Foulkes of Newcastle United who netted with his first kick when debuting for Wales against England at Cardiff 25 years ago.

Those handful of regulars who watch the Reserves cannot have been surprised at Ward’s impressive debut, or the decision of manager Peter Taylor to drop 25-goal Fred Binney.

While Binney scores like clock-work at the Goldstone, his tally of away goals is low – five in the League and two on the FA Cup trail.

No doubt Taylor will come under fire from Binney’s large band of admirers. But it was a courageous decision to omit the league scorer and risk wholesale censure had the move failed.

Before the match, Taylor asked his players for maximum effort. He knows full well that the principal reason why only 12 points have been taken from 19 away games is lack of application.

“They gave what I asked for. They were magnificent,” he said.

I hope the introduction of Ward, who has a great deal to learn, isn’t going to inspire an ‘unfair to Binney’ campaign. I have no reason to believe there was any reason for his dropping or the standing-down of Ian Mellor, other than purely tactical.

Ward watches a high ball

Ward watches a high ball

Quite apart from his unforgettable goal, Ward made a meaningful contribution to the game. But for a superb fingertip save nine minutes from the end by Kevin Charlton, Ward would have had the winner.

Ward exerts more pressure with his pace and close control

Ward exerts more pressure with his pace and close control

His introduction at this juncture was based on the lack of mobility by Hereford’s central defender, John Galley. Such a nippy player as Ward soon demonstrated his skill and finishing power, attacking chiefly from the left and showing a penchant for knee-high crosses.

It was in this fashion that he scored. But I am sure Ward would be first to admit that Sammy Morgan’s arrival in the six-yard box was a painfully unwelcome distraction for Charlton.

The increased pace was Ward’s abiding impression of it all. He admitted to be tired afterwards and was not the first to complain at the poor state of the pitch, where the uncertain bounce deceived most of the players most of the time.

Match of the Day cameras and commentary did not adequately convey the tension. Neither side overcame nerves, and in consequence much of the game was scrappy.

Once again Brian Horton displayed a wide range of skills and power, while Peter O’Sullivan’s urgency was always in evidence. The return of Andy Rollings after missing three games with a gashed instep, gave much needed height to the defence and he played so strongly as to be outstanding at the back.

Joe Kinnear, however, was far less sure and allowed himself to be distracted on one near-fatal occasion by the tactics of Terry Paine.

The result threw doubt on Hereford’s promotion credentials. The Brighton draw meant the Lilywhites had won just one out of their previous four matches. However, they won five and lost once out of their remaining nine League matches to end the season as Third Division champions. Despite a goal bonanza from new boy Ward towards the end of the season, Brighton secured only one victory out of their remaining fixtures and so promotion proved beyond them.

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