Best results series: Seventh heaven against the Saddlers

The third instalment of the series, there was another thriller in-store at the Goldstone.

By Nick Szczepanik • 23 June 2022

By The Argus
Ian Mellor netted a hat-trick in the 7-0 win over Walsall.

Up next in our best ever Albion results series, we venture back to 1976, when Albion enjoyed one of their greatest scorelines, with an absolute thumping of Walsall.

So far in the series, we have covered Albion's Community Shield win over Aston Villa in 1910, and the 6-0 win over Watford in 1958.

October 5 1976: Albion 7 Walsall 0 (Football League Division Three).

This was not so much a great game as a great half as Peter Ward and Ian Mellor shared seven second-half strikes at a storm-lashed Goldstone, the final score reading Ward 4, Mellor 3, Walsall 0.  

Alan Mullery’s team was gathering pace on the journey that would eventually take the club all the way to the First Division for the first time in its history and they had just eliminated top-flight West Bromwich Albion from the League Cup at The Hawthorns.

By The Argus
Alan Mullery managed Albion from 1976-81, before returning for the 1986/87 campaign.

But a stuttering draw at home in the burgeoning rivalry against Crystal Palace on the previous Saturday was followed by a disappointing first half against Walsall in midweek. Despite having a strong wind and driving rain at their backs as they attacked the North Stand, Albion could do little against a Saddlers team that had always seemed to be a thorn in their side. 

There was little optimism in the ground ahead of a second half in which Albion would have the wind and rain in their faces, despite attacking down the slope towards the South Stand. But the fans reckoned without the force of the rocket that Mullery had fired at his men in the dressing-room and the team was transformed in the second half.

With Brian Horton driving the team forward down the slope and assists coming from Peter O’Sullivan, Harry Wilson, Gerry Fell and even goalkeeper Peter Grummitt, Ward’s trickery and pace and Mellor’s intelligent movement dovetailed in the Seagulls’ second seven-goal haul of a season that would end in promotion. 

By The Argus
Peter Ward netted four times in the second half.

Mellor knocked home a rebound after 56 minutes and the floodgates opened. Ward scored after 56 and 61, Mellor edged back in front on the night after 63 and 68 but Ward had the last words with two more in two minutes.

“I have never seen finishing quite like that,” Mullery told the press afterwards. “Both lads were tremendous. It was the most magnificent second half of football I’ve ever seen.”