Notice that I mentioned the goals that helped us leapfrog Wolves into the automatic spots.
However, most Albion fans from that era will point to the defence and, in particular, our goalkeeper Russell Hoult as the real reason that we went up. A club record 27 clean sheets that season, 24 of them in the league. Those goals that I mentioned above were in games that finished 1-0, 1-0 and 2-0 respectively. The nil being the pertinent fact.
Fast forward to the 2017-18 season and Albion's record-breaking shot-stopper is assistant manager at Midland Premier League side Quorn and, I hear, still turning out between the sticks at the ripe old age of 45. So, when I saw the Leicestershire FA Challenge Cup fixture, Leicester Road v Quorn pop up, the lure of a new stadium combined with seeing Houlty back in action was too much to resist.
The most striking thing about Leicester Road Stadium, as a first time visitor, is the friendliness. I was directed to a parking spot by two stewards who, when I walked back past them to get to the turnstile, both greeted me and wished me a pleasant evening at the game. The turnstile operator was equally jovial and also hoped that I enjoyed the game. I popped into the bar to get a cup of tea and the welcome in there was equally pleasant. Brilliant work from the club. That is how to make a first impression.
The team sheets were written out on a board outside the bar and I was very pleased to see that Mr Hoult was, indeed, custodian for the away side this evening. The game promised to be an interesting contest between a Step 6 side (Leicester Road) riding high in the league and full of confidence against a team from the lower reaches of the division above. Both sides had won at the weekend though, Leicester Road beating Heather St John's 2-1 and Quorn earning a very good 3-0 home win over Lye Town, their first home league win this season.
The game started at a good pace and both sides looked like they would enjoy the open spaces and good playing surface of the Leicester Road ground. It was the away side who were first into their rhythm and, with just three minutes on the clock, they got an early break-through. A cross from their right-flank, where winger Ryan Evans was to look dangerous all evening, caused some confusion in the home defence. Despite having opportunities to clear the ball, it fell to Leavi Oshungbure who side-stepped a defender and smashed the ball past Ricky Blewitt. 0-1.
Not long afterwards Quorn almost grabbed a second. This time a corner from the right was met with a powerful header that came back off the Road bar. This seemed to be the signal for the home side to step it up and, after 16 minutes, they grabbed an equaliser. The aforementioned Hoult came well off his line to claim a deep cross from the Leicester left. However, he couldn't hang on to the ball which was picked up by Matt Langham who unselfishly squared it for Nuno Gomes to drill it past a defender on the line. 1-1.
Three minutes later Hoult made amends for his costly mistake, getting down sharpish at his left-hand post to put a snapshot out for a corner. He was called into action again a minute later as the home side went looking for a second goal. Langham pulled the ball down in the box, turned sharply and fired in a low drive which Hoult did well to parry. He was, however, powerless to prevent Greg Downes from blasting the loose ball past him to make it 2-1 with 20 minutes on the clock.
Leicester Road were now full of confidence and playing some absolutely delightful football at times. never afraid to recycle play, they always seemed to have a man in space. All this against a Quorn side who are certainly no mugs themselves. When they did get hold of the ball, they showed that they too could play a bit and always looked dangerous when they pushed forward, especially with the pace of Evans on the right flank.
Just before the half-hour mark Quorn levelled the game again, this time with a slice of good luck. Simon Alcott tried his luck from 25 yards and his drive took a wicked deflection, looping the ball up and over Blewitt for 2-2.
HT Leicester Road 2 Quorn 2. What an entertaining first 45 minutes! Both sides very happy to play football with some particularly good passages from the home team.
There followed a period of relative calm, although in this game that just mean that there wasn't a goal in the next fifteen minutes. Both sides continued to play some lovely football. Leicester Road's passing game was, at times, a joy to watch. Quorn, although slightly more direct in their play, were very dangerous when they pushed forward. It was an intriguing game and you could tell that the scoring was not complete.
Sure enough, four minutes after the hour, Quorn were back on level terms. There was a short period of pinball in the Leicester Road penalty area before Nathan Dale took matters into his own hands and smashed the ball into the roof of the Road net. 3-3.
In keeping with the pace of the game I was actually still tweeting about the equaliser when Jordan Burrows rifled in a drive from the corner of the Quorn penalty area. Hoult got his fingers to it but could not prevent it flying into the far corner. A tremendous strike of the ball. 4-3.
Despite the best efforts of both sides there was no more scoring. Right at the death I did wonder if the game had one more piece of drama to throw at us though. Quorn won a corner with the clock ticking down. There was barely time for them to take it. Up went Hoult. Could he score the equaliser at the grand age of 45?
The answer was no. Drama over and game over, but what a game!
FT Leicester Road 4 Quorn 3. A brilliant game to watch as a neutral. Two good footballing sides producing great entertainment and all for £6. What's not to like?
Quorn, who are currently way too close to the drop zone in the Premier League at the moment, look to be in a false position on this display. It's just a matter of time before they pull themselves away from any relegation worries. As for Leicester Road, if they continue to produce football in the vein that they did this evening then there is no doubt in my mind that they will achieve promotion this season.
Leicester Road: Blewitt, Acton, Harrison, Downes (c), Unsworth, Earls, Burrows, Lyne, Langham, Kennedy, Gomes. Subs: Munton, Kingsley-Smith, Rudd, Holt, Highland (GK)
Quorn: Hoult, Mulonga, Mather (c), Oshungbure, Chapman, Gorman, Evans, Alcott, Brennan, Hicks, Gould. Subs: Dale, Oldham, Sandhu, Dodds, Thacker(GK)
Ground Number: 140