03/02/1971 Cyprus 3-0 Nicosia Jimmy Nicholson, Derek Dougan, George Best pen
Pat Jennings, Dave Craig, Sammy Nelson, Allan Hunter, Terry Neill, Sammy Todd, Bryan Hamilton, Eric McMordie, Derek Dougan, Jimmy Nicholson, George Best
The pitch in Nicosia was described as “disgraceful” by Northern Ireland manager Billy Bingham as pools of water lay on the surface after heavy rainfall. However, Northern Ireland came away with a comfortable victory and 2 precious points after three second half goals from Jimmy Nicholson (53), Derek Dougan (55) and a George Best penalty (86). This was Northern Ireland’s first victory in 9 internationals.
* Trivia –
“Only ten minutes remained if the match. The rain fell incessantly. The pitch was a quagmire… Pressmen were perched precariously along the touchline on a five foot platform. Suddenly a Cypriot defender cracked the ball out of play. It came at me like a rocket. I ducked. It struck my typewriter and my chair fell 6ft from the platform – and myself with it. Result – three broken ribs, torn muscles – and a nightmare journey home.”
Legend has it that a certain brand of whiskey numbed the pain on the flight home!