It is almost 40 years since Albion and Stoke City were locked in battle for top-flight status.

And their combat cost Seagulls centre-back Andy Rollings one of his teeth.

The clubs go head-to-head in the Potteries today with the goal of keeping clear of the drop.

Back in 1978-79 they were in the thick of the promotion race, Albion as an emerging force and City as a side looking to rejoin the elite.

They both got there by winning the final game of the season away to the Magpies.

Albion were 3-1 victors at Newcastle and a Paul Richardson strike gave the Potters the 1-0 win they required at Notts County.

Their early-season collision at the Victoria Ground was a cracker with Albion twice coming from behind to draw 2-2.

A contemporary report tells of Rollings battling on after suffering a knee injury early in the game.

He has no recollection of that but vividly remembers an aerial clash with Stoke’s battering ram centre-forward Brendan O’Callaghan.

Rollings told The Argus: “I remember the game. It was a battle.

“The pitch was quite heavy and it wasn’t the beautiful game.

“I recall losing a tooth when Brendan came at me with an elbow.

“There wasn’t any malice. You just went for the ball and, if there was somebody in the way, you went through him. That was what happened that time.”

Had there been time for some tactical analysis of the battle, a couple of candidates were on hand.

Rollings was partnered by Mark Lawrenson while his fellow BBC pundit these days Garth Crooks was a livewire in attack for Stoke.

Crooks, roared on by home fans chanting “Garth Crewks” in Potteries accents, tended to operate down the right for a City side managed by Alan Durban while Howard Kendall pulled the midfield strings.

Rollings said: “Crooks was very lively. He had a lot of pace and, of course, went on to have a wonderful career.”

A crowd of 22,203 saw Crooks convert a penalty before Peter Ward levelled from a tight angle.

Crooks set up O’Callaghan to restore the home lead right in front of their Boothen End home terrace.

But Teddy Maybank pounced on a rebound to secure a point after Roger Jones had parried a Peter O’Sullivan shot on 83 minutes.

There was still time for Eric Steele to deny Crooks with a super save.

Gerry Ryan made his debut for Albion and looked a good acquisition from Derby.

A 1-1 draw in the return meeting helped both sides go up.

Rollings, who works in hospitality at the Amex, hopes the Seagulls have a similarly happy ending this time.

He said: “We have maybe not got the points we have deserved at home but that’s football.

“I think sometimes you have defining moments and I’m hoping the Izquierdo goal against West Ham was one of them.

“It was a great goal and I think we will always remember the celebration!”

* Albion marked their 75th anniversary with a game against Stoke – a year early. The two teams drew 1-1 before 5,531 in a celebratory fixture at the Goldstone in October, 1975.

Gordon Banks was in goal in the first half for Stoke and John Ritchie put them ahead.

But Albion battled well against top-flight opponents and levelled through Fred Binney.

Albion chairman Mike Bamber was a little disappointed with the attendance and receipts of £3,500.

He put the figure down to wet weather, the counter attraction of the Thrilla in Manila between Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazier on television and a busy fixture list. Some supporters also felt the 70p admission charge was a bit steep.

It was not until almost 20 years later that it was discovered Albion were actually founded in 1901, so the match took place a year too soon.