ALBION (0) 7
Mellor (3) Ward (4)
WALSALL (0) 0
Division Three, 5th October 1976
It is often forgotten that the Saddlers came into this match having beaten Albion home and away in the previous 1975/76 campaign. They had even defeated Brighton 6-0 as recently as October 1974.
However, it was sweet revenge for an Albion side reinvigorated by the recent appointment of Alan Mullery. Despite a 0-0 half-time scoreline, the Seagulls ran riot in the second half of a fondly-remembered evening at the Goldstone Ground, with Ian Mellor and Peter Ward in deadly form.
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Peter Grummitt- The former Nottingham Forest keeper’s exceptional save from Alun Evans in the 13th minute ensured Albion did not go a goal down.
Ken Tiler- Ken’s cross set up Mellor’s shot that led to Ward’s second goal in a minute on 79 minutes.
Harry Wilson- Albion’s left-back supplied the cross for Mellor’s header to make it 4-0 just past the hour mark.
Brian Horton- The skipper showed his tenacity by winning the ball from Evans to supply Ward for his opener.
Andy Rollings- Rollo amassed 39 league games in this promotion side, scoring three times.
Graham Cross- In his last season as a professional after a long distinguished career with Leicester City.
Gerry Fell- Gerry’s low centre from the right was met by Mellor to make it five.
Peter Ward- After an uneventful first half, Ward responded by scoring in the 55th, 61st, 79th (twice) minute.
Ian Mellor- Showed a telepathic understanding with Mellor and was rewarded with a hat-trick with goals on 51, 63 and 70 minutes. Fooled the Walsall defence with a dummy that Ward lapped up to make it six.
Steve Piper- Ever-present during the season with 46 league appearances, plus the goal that clinched promotion.
Peter O’Sulivan- Back in the side and his shot led to the first goal, scored by Mellor.
Mick Kearns- By the end of 1976/77, the Republic of Ireland keeper completed his third successive ever-present season. However, he would not experience another deluge of goals quite as intense as seven goals in 28 minutes.
Colin Harrison- A local youth product who had just completed 13 years of service with the Saddlers, rewarded by a benefit match against West Bromwich Albion.
Brian Caswell- A versatile player who joined the club in 1971 as an apprentice. Made 38 appearances in 1976/77, mainly at left-back.
Dave Robinson- A steady and consistent performer since his transfer from Birmingham in 1973.
Roger Hynd- Former Rangers centre-back who played in the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final in 1967. Also played for Crystal Palace and Birmingham. In the 1976/77 season, Hynd was player-coach and assistant manager with the Saddlers.
Nick Atthey- Long-serving midfielder who had reached 440 league appearances for the Saddlers by the close of the campaign.
Miah Dennehy- A strong, forceful winger previously with Cork Hibernian and Nottingham Forest.
George Andrews- Famously headed the winning goal against Newcastle United in the FA Cup in 1975.
Bernie Wright- A strong runner who was sensationally dropped for the match against Wrexham and granted his transfer request.
Alan Buckley- Mullery was annoyed at how much possession Buckley was allowed in the first half. Buckley led the Saddlers’ scoring charts with 20 league goals.
Alun Evans- Experienced striker who made his name with Bill Shankly's Liverpool side of the early 1970s. Joined Walsall from Aston Villa.