A blast from the Albion v Leicester past
BACK we must go into the distant past if we are to find glory days for Albion against the Foxes, because the last few years have been anything but impressive, on home turf at least.
The Throstles have only won three out of the last eleven games between us at The Hawthorns, which suggests it’s time for the ban on fox hunting to be lifted.
Worse yet is our FA Cup record, Leicester winning three out of the four meetings between the clubs in the grand old competition, the most significant coming in 1969 when boyhood Albion fan Allan Clarke forgot his roots and stuck the ball past John Osborne in the last few moments of the semi-final at Hillsborough to see Leicester to Wembley and end our hopes of retaining the trophy. Right, that’s got being nice to our guests out of the way. Now, on to the Albion wins.
The 1950s were the glory years for goals in this fixture, the Baggies giving the supporters hope that they would ape the previous season and put in a sustained bid for the title in 1954/55, beating Leicester 6-4 in an epic encounter, Johnnie Nicholls notching a hat-trick, Ronnie Allen, Frank Griffin and George Lee doing the rest. Leicester got their revenge, winning the return fixture 6-3, but that didn’t stop them getting relegated, just as they did in 1969 after that cup win.
We didn’t meet again until 1957/58, when we battled to a 3-3 draw at Filbert Street, Bobby Robson getting two to add to one from Allen. Albion rounded off the season in impressive form, Leicester smashed 6-2 at The Hawthorns, with Robson registering a hat-trick this time, Brian Whitehouse adding two more and Derek Kevan finishing the scoring – Robson and Kevan were off to the World Cup with England two months later, along with Don Howe. Leicester stayed in the division, having failed to beat Albion. See, it worked.
Leicester had such an off day when they came here in March 1965 that not only did they lose 6-0, they let Graham Williams score, one of just 11 goals in 360 games for Albion. Gerry Howshall scored one of his three, the rest going to those who troubled the scorekeepers more often – Clive Clark, Kenny Foggo and a brace for Jeff Astle.
One of Albion’s finest ever away displays came at Filbert Street in May 1977, when they rounded off a magnificent first season back in the top flight by winning 5-0. David Cross, Laurie Cunningham and Tony Brown were on target, as was Ireland’s Mick Martin who chipped in with two as Albion ended the campaign in sixth, just two points behind Manchester United.
Not all our wins over Leicester have done us much good however. I refer you to 13th April 1991 when goals from Don Goodman and Winston White – the only one the lad from Leicester scored for us – saw us beat the Foxes 2-1 and had us level on 43 points after 41 games, and looking towards safety. We drew all our last five games 1-1, and City leapfrogged us on the final day with a 1-0 win at home to Oxford to send us down to the third tier for the first time. What a day that was…