Shropshire Star

The match in which Walsall and Shrewsbury both made history - the Gay Meadow's greatest night?

A great night for victorious Walsall. An unforgettable night for defeated Shrewsbury Town. A historic night for legendary goalscorer Arthur Rowley.

Walsall history is made as the ball heads for the Shrewsbury net.

All in all, was there ever a greater occasion at the Gay Meadow?

The date, Wednesday, April 26, 1961. The game, Shrewsbury Town v Walsall in the Third Division. And history-making was in the air, which began with the attendance.

A total of 18,917 squeezed in to the Gay Meadow, an all-time record for the ground - although the official figure does not tell the whole story, as others watched from trees and rooftop vantage points, while at the old Royal Salop Infirmary patients sat on the balcony trying to get a glimpse of the action.

The bumper attendance was driven through Walsall bringing along an army of 10,000 travelling fans who were hoping to see their team achieve the dream of promotion to the Second Division after an absence of 60 years.

As it happened, the ground's previous highest attendance, a spooky echo at 18,197, had also been through a visit from Walsall.

But there was skin in the game for Shrewsbury too, as their Wolverhampton-born player-manager Arthur Rowley was just a goal away from taking his place in the football hall of fame by equalling the aggregate league goals record of 379 which had been held by Everton legend Dixie Dean for 22 years.