Peter Ward and Gordon Smith relive their Brighton hat-tricks

Leandro Trossard led Liverpool in a merry dance as he scored a hat-trick at Anfield.

More than four decades earlier, Peter Ward was faring much like a legendary ex-Liverpool defender thanks to a timely change of boots.

Ward, Gordon Smith and now Trossard are the only Albion players to have scored a hat-trick for the club in the top flight.

As he watches the Seagulls’ progress on TV from his Florida home, Ward sees a little of himself in the way Trossard plays.

Of all the current players, the Belgian bears the closest stylistic resemblance to the East Midlands man who was the Goldstone’s favourite.

Thanks to those heights, the two men now have something else in common.

Trossard edged out a defense built around Virgil Van Dijk on Saturday.

On a freezing afternoon just before Christmas in 1979, Ward met former Reds skipper Emlyn Hughes.

Hughes had crossed over to Wolves by this point, leading them against a promoted Albion side making their first visit to one of their happiest hunting grounds.

It came onto a Molineux surface that got progressively harder and treacherous underfoot as the afternoon wore on.

Ward said: “The pitch was rock hard and for some reason, whether it was Glen Wilson the coach, instead of regular boots we had these boots with rubber studs on them.

“Emlyn Hughes tagged me and Ray Clarke was ahead.

“I missed a babysitter from an early age.

“The ball came over the six-yard line and I put it over the bar.

“All her fans were chanting ‘He shot, he missed, he must be p***t.’

“I don’t think we ever wore those spike boots again.

“I wore them that day — I’m not sure everyone did — and they nailed it.”

Brian Horton sent Ward away for his first and later converted a through ball from Peter O’Sullivan.

Among th was also something of a collector’s item

He said: “Ray Clarke headed it back and I headed it in the top corner which was very rare.

“Brian Horton put me through for one and I think I got that one on my right foot.

“And I think I caught the other one with my left foot.

“So left foot, right foot and header.

“I could be wrong, but I could be right. It was a long time.”

Horton and Ward also played a role in Smith’s hat-trick the following season.

Inspired by Horton in midfield, the Seagulls came to a 3-0 deficit against Coventry City in front of less than 12,000 fans at their old stadium on Highfield Road.

After opening his account from 15 yards, Smith scored twice in the last ten minutes.

But that wasn’t the whole story.

He said: “I was actually very disappointed.

“I remember our manager Alan Mullery saying after the game, ‘What’s the matter with you?’

“My header was cleared off the line at the last minute. I hit the keeper with a header and he was cleared off the line and it ended in a three for everyone so I was disappointed in that aspect.

“But of course I was happy about the hat-trick.”

Ward’s fabulous long run resulted in the second goal when his shot was saved by Les Sealey and Smith.

Smith won the free-kick that earned his third when Gary Williams’ delivery was headed back over the goal by Steve Foster and the Scot rose from close range to nod.

Jimmy Greaves visited the Goldstone for the next home game to present Smith with a Golden Ball Award on behalf of The Sun.

Wolves and Coventry were decent opponents in Albion’s first golden era.

But as Smith pointed out, scoring goals at Anfield is different.

Both men watched the game on TV, Ward watching live, which for him was Saturday morning.

His home near Tampa escaped the horrors of Hurricane Ian.

“We were very lucky. It didn’t get in our way.

“We got a lot of really heavy rain and wind and there was debris everywhere, but other than that we escaped.”

So he could watch the Anfield game on TV – and enjoy it to the fullest.

He said: “We should have won.

“We could have led 4-0. It was incredible, brilliant.

“I can see all the games. We broadcast every Premier League live.

“I did a podcast a few months ago and they asked if any Brighton players reminded me of me and I said Trossard is probably the closest.”

Smith was aware of the importance when the third goal was scored.

He said: “Last year one of the pundits on TV said the last top-level hat-trick for Brighton was mine and I couldn’t believe it.

“But I don’t remember any of the goals that day.”

Smith scored two hat-tricks in his career, the other scoring Rangers against Aberdeen with six goals.

Reports at the time indicated that his double at Tottenham earlier in the season also gave his side a handy away point.

He told reporters at Highfield Road: “Now I have to start scoring at the Goldstone or the home fans won’t believe it!”

That is the goal for the current squad. First home hat-trick in the top division.

The only prem-treble at Amex to date was scored by away player Raheem Sterling for Manchester City and no fans were there to see it.

Trossard struck three times against Espanyol in a friendly in a summer when Beth Mead scored a hat-trick for England against Norway at the Amex at Euro 2022.

Who will be next to join Albion’s top-flight hat-trick club? Peter Ward and Gordon Smith relive their Brighton hat-tricks

Fry Electronics Team

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