03rd April – Today In Our Footballing History

03/04/1963 Belfast Wales 1-4 Martin Harvey

Bobby Irvine, Jimmy Magill, Alex Elder, Martin Harvey, Albert Campbell, Terry Neill, Billy Humphries, Johnny Crossan, Willie Irvine, Jimmy McIlroy, Jimmy McLaughlin

Northern Ireland were defeated heavily yet again as they lost 4-1 at home to Wales and ended up with the wooden spoon having lost their previous matches against England (1-3) and Scotland (5-1). Northern Ireland were in a period of transition after the glory years of the late fifties as key players had already come to the end of their (international) playing careers or were not far away from doing so. Scotland were the dominant force for the second year in succession defeating all three nations including a 2-1 win at Wembley in the final game.

Northern Ireland had the wind in the first half with Willie Humphries (Coventry City) and Jimmy McIlroy (Stoke City) making the most of it however, Wales’ defensive line of Mel Hopkins (Tottenham Hotspur), Graham Williams (West Bromwich Albion) and Mike England (Blackburn Rovers) were able to deal with Irish any attack.

Wales took the lead on 23 minutes after a free kick was awarded to them in the Irish half. The free kick taken by Ivor Allchurch (Cardiff City) found the head of teammate Phil Woosnam (Aston Villa).

Northern Ireland kept the attacking impotence with Willie Irvine (Burnley) bringing out good two saves from Welsh goalkeeper David Hollins (Newcastle United). Wales on the counterattack managed to extend their lead on 33 minutes after a lob by Cliff Jones (Tottenham Hotspur).

Again Northern Ireland kept their heads and reduced the deficit only three minutes later when Martin Harvey (Sunderland) scored.

Allchurch was the thorn in the Northern Irish side and when Wales moved up a gear in the closing stages they added a further two goals to their tally through Jones to earn him his hat-trick.

Author: Magheramesk

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Northern Ireland Footballing Greats



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