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The 100th League Meeting
Saturday 20th March 1971, Kick Off 3pm
The derby games between Wolves and Albion are always one of the highlights of the fixture list and there was added interest with the occasion of the 100th League meeting of the clubs in March 1971.
Both sides made just one change from their previous game - Albion, who had lost 1-0 at Southampton replaced Len Cantello with George McVitie, and Wolves bought in Hugh Curran for Derek Dougan who was injured in the home victory over West Ham.
After heavy morning rain the conditions had relented by kick-off time and there was bright sunshine as the Baggies began the game defending the Birmingham Road end. The early exchanges saw both sides getting caught in offside traps and when Wagstaffe did get down the left flank he was fouled by Alan Merrick - Bernard Shaw driving the resulting free kick wide.
Brown failed to connect properly with a cross-shot when well placed before Wolves almost took the lead with a fluke. After a heavy Wolves attack Merrick blasted the ball clear, but it struck Jim McCalliog on the head rebounding back towards goal. It took a marvelous save from Jim Cumbes in the home goal to keep the scores level.
After Jon Wile had headed just over the bar, McVitie gave Albion a 31st minute lead. The influential Mike Bailey made a rare error in losing the ball to Bobby Hope who laid on a perfect pass for McVitie who beat John McAlle before slipping the ball past the advancing Phil Parkes. Wagstaffe was causing problems for the Albion defence but at the half-time whistle his promptings had given no reward.
The winger almost notched an equaliser on the restart when he fired just wide after a mazy run. But in the 53rd minute the leveller that Wolves threatened finally arrived. And it was no surprise that Wagstaffe had a hand in the goal laying the ball off to Curran who shot just inside the near post.
Albion hit back strongly and McAlle had to head a Hope lob off the line before Wolves took a 58th minute lead. Wagstaffe played a short corner to Bernard Shaw who centered to the far post for Curran to dispatch a downward header in the corner of the net.
The lead was short-lived, however, with Brown equalising just three minutes later. He took a neat flick from Jeff Astle and hit the ball under the diving body of Parkes. The home supporters were still celebrating as Bailey ran through the Albion defence and buried a vicious cross-shot beyond Cumbes to amazingly put Wolves back in front. Four goals had come in a nine minute spell.
The action continued at a furious pace and Brown hooked the ball virtually out of Parkes hands and inches wide of the post before, at the opposite end of the pitch, John Kaye and Bobby Gould tussled for the ball in an encounter which became a little heated and ended with the referee giving the pair a stern lecture.
As the game moved into the last quarter of an hour Wolves began to get well on top and it wasn't a shock when Gould made the game safe for them in the 79th minute. Curran looked to have completed his hat-trick but Cumbes managed to parry his powerful shot. But the ball went straight to Gould who made no mistake.
The star of the show was undoubtedly Wagstaffe who had given a classic display of the art of wing play. Not far behind in the honours list was the inspirational captaincy of Mike Bailey, whilst Brown was a constant thorn in the flesh of the Wolves defence.
Wolves began the game in fourth spot which was to be their final placing at the season's end. Albion, who were 15th, ended the campaign in 17th place.