31/03/2004 Tallinn Estonia 1-0 David Healy
Maik Taylor, Chris Baird, Tony Capaldi, Stephen Craigan, Mark Williams, Danny Sonner (Michael Duff), Phil Mulryne (Grant McCann), Jeff Whitley, David Healy, Steve Jones, Andy Smith
Lawrie Sanchez –
“It is nice to win a football match again – it has been a long time for us. Not only was it nice to win it was a great goal that sealed the victory in what was a good contest. It is my first win in charge and hopefully it is the first of many. It was hard work but very enjoyable. At the end we were on our uppers a little bit but defensively we were strong. Defensively we looked solid. In midfield we disrupted them and got about them. Up front the two players worked their socks off. I am sure the people back in Northern Ireland will have enjoyed the win enormously.”
31/03/1954 Wrexham Wales 2-1 Peter McParland (2)
Harry Gregg, Len Graham, Alf McMichael, Danny Blanchflower, Billy Dickson, Bertie Peacock, Billy Bingham, Jackie Blanchflower, Billy McAdams, Jimmy McIlroy, Peter McParland
Northern Ireland defeated Wales in this joint British Home Championship and qualifying match for the 1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland, at Wrexham in front of 32,817 spectators. The attendance was surprising considering the Wednesday afternoon kick-off time and that the match was only to decide the wooden spoon position.
Northern Ireland had too much for Wales on the day, especially from the left, as left-half Bertie Peacock (Glasgow Celtic) and outside-left Peter McParland (Aston Villa) worked in tandem to break down the Welsh defence.
Northern Ireland were more direct and quicker at moving the ball and opened the scoring in the 1st minute through McParland, who was making his debut for his country. Harry Gregg (Doncaster Rovers), Jackie Blanchflower (Manchester United) and Billy McAdams (Distillery) were also making their international debuts for Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland went 2-0 in front on 52 minutes again from debutant McParland. Wales did pull one goal back however, in the 80th minute through their star player John Charles (Leeds United).
In the end Northern Ireland deserved the win which meant Wales would finish bottom of the qualifying group and Northern Ireland third. Scotland who finished 2nd and England 1st both qualified for the 1954 tournament.
* Trivia –
This was Northern Ireland’s first win since October 1947 (a 2-0 win over Scotland at Windsor Park).