16/01/1957 Lisbon Portugal 1-1 Billy Bingham 30,000
Harry Gregg, Willie Cunningham, Alf McMichael, Danny Blanchflower, Jackie Blanchflower, Tommy Casey, Billy Bingham, Jimmy McIlroy, Fay Coyle, Wilbur Cush, Peter McParland
The kick-off time for this match was at 22:30 which therefore meant that the game was to finish on the following day! The game was not a pretty affair with Northern Ireland’s Peter McParland (Aston Villa) describing the game as “the dirtiest in which I’ve played!”
In the game the Portuguese right-back grabbed McParland by the collar and ripped the shirt off his back, not to mention the attempted knee-high tackle by the same player later in the game which McParland just managed to avoid. Nonetheless Northern Ireland earn’t a valuable draw away from home and started the road to the Sweden World Cup 1958.
Billy Bingham (Sunderland) had given Northern Ireland the lead with a stunning volley after five minutes of play. The equalizer materialized when Harry Gregg (Manchester United) misjudged a cross and palmed the ball to Manuel Vasquez’s (Sporting Lisbon) feet who subsequently scored. Gregg had blamed the stadium lights for not seeing the ball, much to the amusement of Tommy Casey (Newcastle United) who stated every other *beep* in the ground saw it! Gregg subsequently began to run after Casey while taking off his jersey offering it to him to try and do better!
The Portugese team consisted of European-class stars such as Jose Aguas (Benfica), Antonio Da Costa (FC Porto), Manuel Vasques and Fernando Perdigao (FC Porto) however, the partnership of manager Peter Doherty and captain Danny Blanchflower (Tottenham Hotspur) with their dynamic tactical knowledge and creativity produced a team which could hold its own with the best teams of the time.