22/03/1902 Belfast England 0-1
Billy Scott, Peter Boyle, Alex McCartney, Hugh Maginnis, Bob Milne, Joe Connor, Johnny Darling, Jack Kirwan, Toby Mercer, Thomas Shanks, Paddy Sheridan
England played much better in their second game of the season. Although beating Ireland by a single, late goal does not look impressive, the pitch made life extremely difficult for the forwards, and England were entirely dominant. Reilly played well in the Irish goal to keep the score down. That said, the absence of the massively influential Ernest Needham, who would never play for England again, caused problems, as it necessitated wholesale changes in the half-back line.
Indeed, the Irish missed a golden opportunity to win the game themselves in the second half, as they were awarded a penalty. This was the fourth England match in a row to feature a penalty. Unfortunately for Milne, his kick was kept out by George, falling to his knees. Therefore, of those four consecutive penalties in England games, three were missed.
Soon after the miss, Kearns headed the ball against a post. England, relieved at those escapes, then continued to dominate, with the vast majority of the match being played in Ireland’s half. With five minutes left, England got the goal they needed. Hogg, Bloomer and Calvey were all involved in the build-up, and the ball came to Settle, who shot low and hard just out of Reilly’s reach. Relief all round for England.
Author: Peter Waring
* Trivia – Bob Milne is the only player in the world who failed to score a penalty against England on three occasions: 1897, 1898 and 1902.