In a new feature, Graham Large goes down memory lane to look back at Wolves clashes with Brighton and Hove Albion and looks at how they became a ‘bogey’ team.
To say that Brighton and Hove Albion have been something of bogey side to Wolverhampton Wanderers over the years would certainly be something of an understatement.
The numbers certainly say plenty, with Wolves having beaten the Seagulls just three times in their last 23 league games.
They first met in the 1979/80 season. Brighton were competing in the First Division for the first ever time, and though they would finish ten places below Wolves in 16th, they still won both matches – winning 3–1 at Molineux and 3–0 at the Goldstone Ground.
It was a sign of things to come as this was the start of nine successive victories for Brighton with Wolves failing to score in six of those games. In the tenth outing, Wolves finally registered their first point against the Sussex side courtesy of a 1–1 away draw in December 1989.
That scoreline would be repeated on the South Coast the following season, only for Brighton to leave Molineux with a 3–2 victory. Then the Goldstone Ground would play host to a six-goal thriller in August 1991, making it 13 league meetings between the sides and still no win for Wolves.
But the bogey was finally laid to rest at the thirteenth attempt when the two teams met at Molineux just after Christmas in December 1991.
The visitors had recorded one win in their previous eight games, and found themselves in 23rd place. Wolves were were faring slightly better – having rebounded from a dreadful run of five successive defeats by taking eight points from their next five games.
Wolves got off to a flying start. The game was barely two minutes old when midfielder Mark Burke converted a Paul Birch corner.
From then it seemed merely a question of how many as Brighton goalkeeper Mark Beeney made a series of fine saves to keep the home side at bay. But in the 26th minute Beeney was finally beaten by an Andy Mutch header.
The Seagulls rarely threatened – though Mark Farrington did hit the bar with an excellent chance shortly before half-time – and, amazingly, they were able to prevent Wolves from scoring any further goals.
The result was the first of five wins in a row for Wolves, as they went on to finish in 11th place. Conversely, Brighton were relegated at the end of the season.
The two clubs have only met nine times since that day; with both sides winning on two occasions and the other five ending all square.
Earlier this season, The Seagulls were just minutes away from a win at Molineux, only for Danny Batth to pop up with an 88th minute equaliser to rescue a point for his side. Since then, Wolves have been in a good form and find themselves on the cusp of challenging for a play off position.
But consistency away from home has been a problem all season and Wolves have only ever won one league game away at Brighton, which happened back in September 2004 when Kenny Miller scored the winner.
Plus their last trip to the South Coast is one many supporters would rather forget. That came on the final day of the 2012/13 season; Wolves were all but resigned to relegation from the Championship and required a miracle to stay up.
Results elsewhere needed to go their way, but Wolves couldn’t even fulfill their side of the bargain – losing 2-0 to their play-off bound hosts and producing a half-hearted performance in the process.
So, it’s a bogey ground as well as a bogey team, but Wolves are in far better shape now and they will certainly go into the game in far better heart than they did their last visit to the Amex Stadium.
Surely we have to end the Brighton hoodoo sometime.