17th March – Today In Our Footballing History

17/03/1965 Belfast Netherlands 2-1 Johnny Crossan, Terry Neill

Ronnie Briggs, John Parke, Alex Elder, Martin Harvey, Terry Neill, Jimmy Nicholson, Billy Humphries, Johnny Crossan, Willie Irvine, Dave Clements, George Best


The Times – Thursday 18th March 1965

Northern Ireland had to play hard for their narrow win against Holland in a world cup match at Windsor Park, Belfast, last night before a crowd of 40,000. For Holland, who had already recorded two wins over Albania, this was the first defeat in the series, but they must be favourites for the return match at Rotterdam on April 7. Northern Ireland are now level with the Dutch at the top of the section, but the manner in which they achieved this success does not auger well for the future.

It was a match in which the defences were usually masters of unimpressive forwards. The Dutch moved the ball smartly with the aid of the wall pass, which they exploited freely, but they lacked the same sharpness when it came to finishing. The passing of the Irish team, as a whole, did not measure up to international standard, and it was a faulty clearance that led to Holland getting the first goal in the seventh minute. Neill played the ball to Van Nee, who took it past Parke to beat Briggs.

The Irish equalized in the eleventh minute with a goal by Crossan. He gained possession from a through pass by Humphries and although he seemed to be offside he was allowed to proceed and score. The Irish had more of the play up to the interval and again in the second half, but they rarely caused much trouble. Their winning goal came in the sixty-first minute, Neill heading in from a corner by Best to make amends for his earlier error.

NORTHERN IRELAND go back joint-top of Group Five with HOLLAND

TOP GROUP FIVE SCORERS: Van Nee (Holland), Crossan (1 Pen.) (Northern Ireland) – 2

Source: freewebs.com/glenish

* Trivia –

The Dutch press claimed they had photographs to prove that Terry Neill’s goal for Northern Ireland should not have stood as Neill had fisted the ball into the net. Terry Neill pleaded “Not Guilty.” The photographs were never brought forward.


Northern Ireland Footballing Greats



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