Debutant John Templeman knew he was doing the job his manager wanted – and getting right on Rodney Marsh’s nerves.

The 19-year-old defender from Yapton had been told to mark the country’s leading scorer out of the game when Albion hosted Third Division leaders QPR at the Goldstone on December 27, 1966.

As the fixture is repeated exactly 50 years on, he still remembers his great day in terrific detail, including the moments Marsh showed his displeasure.

Templeman knew he was getting his man-marking job right when frustrated Marsh was booked for a foul late on. And, in a separate incident, when the two of them exchanged words.

He said: “It was quite amusing because, at one point in the second half, Rodney turned around and said, ‘If I go to the toilet now, will you follow me?’.

“My answer was I had been told to follow him everywhere.”

And with good reason. Templeman and the younger pros had watched the previous day as QPR beat mid-table Albion 3-0 at Loftus Road.

He helped unpack the kit on returning to the Goldstone, before being advised it might be a good idea to hurry home to West Sussex and get an early night.

Templeman sidestepped a family party going on when he got home and went to bed. But he still did not fully take the hint.

He recalls arriving at the Goldstone an hour before the 3pm kick-off unaware of what was to come.

“We sat in the dressing room and waited. At about half-past two, (trainer) Cyril Hodges came through and popped the team sheet up on the noticeboard.

“I was in a group of players sitting in the far corner and all I remember is Roger Badminton calling over ‘Tempy, you’re playing' - and even then it didn’t really register.

“Then one of the more senior players who had been dropped for me to come into the team made a hasty move to the noticeboard and took the team sheet off.

“Cyril came back a few minutes later, stuck it back up on the board and I went over to get ready.

“The manager Archie Macaulay came over and said my job for the day was to mark Rodney Marsh out of the game.

“I rather nervously got changed, did my boot laces up and that was really all he said to me.”

Templeman obliged to such good effect that the Evening Argus headline, in bold capitals, read: “AN ALBION STAR IS BORN”

He still has that cutting tucked away in a scrapbook.

Marsh was, according to reporter John Vinicombe, booked for “a reckless two-footed tackle” on Kit Napier.

The Argus:

He was not the only one who would have seen red these days.

Frank Sibley was guilty of an awful challenge on Bill Cassidy and home goalkeeper Brian Powney suffered damage to his ankle ligaments when fouled by Mark Lazarus.

Then there was QPR defender Jimmy Langley, who used his hand on the goal-line to keep out a Cassidy shot and concede the first-half penalty converted by Brian Tawse in front of the North Stand.

Albion were 2-0 up at the break as Cassidy smashed in from the edge of the box.

But QPR, who would win both the divisional title and the League Cup that season, got back in the contest when Roger Morgan cut in from the left and fired past Powney after the break.

The Albion keeper was not moving freely when a ball rebounded in off Bobby Baxter for the own goal which levelled the match.

A crowd of 22,947 took the aggregate turnout for the festive double-header past the 40,000 mark.

It was an old-fashioned battle – but Marsh was a very modern striker.

Templeman said: “We hadn’t really done man-to-man marking before at Brighton but I think it was a chance Archie was prepared to take to cut out the danger Rodney Marsh might cause on the day.

“Every time the ball was played to him, I tried to get in front of him or get a tackle in or just let him know I was there and I was going to do the best job I could.

“He played up front but he wandered all over the place to get the ball and I think that was why he was such a good footballer.”

Albion: Powney; Gall, Baxter; Templeman, Tranter, Turner; Oliver, Napier, Cassidy, Livesey, Tawse.

QPR: Springett; Watson, Langley; Keen, Hunt, Sibley; Lazarus, Sanderson, Wilkes, Marsh, R.Morgan.

In the picture above, the Albion player in the foreground is Charlie Livesey. He is followed by Brian Tawse and Wally Gould, and the man mainly hidden between the last two is possibly Norman Gall. They are watched from the dugout by Howard Wilkinson and Jimmy McGill. Rodney Marsh is halfway down the tunnel for QPR, whose goalkeeper Peter Springett is just taking to the pitch. Rangers wore red shirts and white shorts.