03/03/1894 Belfast England 2-2 Olphert Stanfield, William Gibson 8,000
Tom Scott, Robert Stewart, Sam Torrans, Sam Johnston, Jack Burnett, Bob Milne, William Dalton, George Gaffikin, Olphert Stanfield, William Gibson, James Barron
It took thirteen attempts but Ireland finally avoided defeat to England. Prior to this game, England’s record against Ireland stood at played 12, won 12, scored 79, conceded 7.
England took a team of professionals to Belfast for the 1894 British Home Championship against Ireland on 3 March 1894.
Joe Reader (West Bromwich Albion) made his solitary England appearance in goal, whilst Henry Chippendale (Blackburn Rovers) earned his single cap at outside right, with his club team-mate Jimmy Whitehead earning his second, and last, cap alongside him. The other débutante was Jimmy Crabtree of Burnley at full-back, who went on to play a total of 14 games for England over the next 8 years. The remainder of the team were experienced internationals, including three members of Aston Villa’s championship winning team (Jack Reynolds, John Devey and Dennis Hodgetts) and were expected to secure a comfortable victory.
Despite losing Robert Holmes with an injury after 20 minutes, England took a 2–0 lead by the 55th minute with goals from John Devey and Fred Spiksley. Ireland rallied, however, and with goals in the 70th (Stanfield) and 87th (Gibson) minutes, pegged England back to a 2–2 draw. There were no goal nets in this match, and when William Gibson scored Ireland’s late equaliser, the English goalkeeper Reader appealed that the ball had gone the other side of the post.
Even bearing in mind the one-man advantage, it was an astonishing achievement by Ireland to draw the match.
Author: Peter Waring