22/04/1998 Belfast Switzerland 1-0 Darren Patterson
Alan Fettis, Iain Jenkins, Aaron Hughes, Darren Patterson, Steve Morrow, Steve Lomas, Neil Lennon, Keith Gillespie, Michael Hughes, Iain Dowie, James Quinn (George O’Boyle)
Darren Patterson: “I am very pleased indeed to score. It was such a good cross and it was just in front of me, so I just had to put my head to it. Keeping a clean sheet means an awful lot more to me being a centre half.”
22/04/1959 Belfast Wales 4-1 Jimmy McIlroy, Peter McParland (2), Bertie Peacock
Harry Gregg, Dick Keith, Alf McMichael, Danny Blcnchflower, Willie Cunningham, Bertie Peacock, Billy Bingham, Jimmy McIlroy, Wilbur Cush, Jimmy Hill, Peter McParland
Northern Ireland coming off the back of a successful World Cup tournament in 1958 defeated Wales with ease to take a share of the 1958-59 British Home Championship alongside England with 4 points each. Both Northern Ireland and England had shared the previous tournament prior to the World Cup. The success had added value as only a month earlier the well respected Irish trainer ‘Uncle’ Gerry Morgan had passed away the previous month.
Northern Ireland had a team in its prime which had grown together since the early 50’s under the leadership of captain Danny Blanchflower and tutelage of manager Peter Doherty. This match however, was the peak before the inevitable fall as Northern Ireland went on to lose their next 11 consecutive matches, stretching over two and a half years from April 1959 to October 1961.
Leading up to this match Northern Ireland in the championship had drawn 3-3 with England at Windsor Park, and drew 2-2 with Scotland at Hampden Park. There was disappointment however when the Irish Football association took the unusual step of playing a friendly match against Spain in Madrid which Ireland lost 6-2. Although the title was shared, the Northern Ireland team was the most entertaining and stood “head and shoulders” above the other home nations in that respect.
During this match, “Ireland’s mastery in midfield was almost embarrassing. Their wing-halves and inside-forwards created for themselves enough space to indulge in the most fanciful schemes”, according to the Glasgow Herald.
Jimmy Hill (Hull City) who was making his international debut had a good game as did the other Irish players although the standouts were Jimmy McIlroy (Burnley), Bertie Peacock (Glasgow Celtic) and Peter McParland (Aston Villa). Wales meanwhile were described as being “almost bewitched” and lacked quality especially from their forward line that “were well below even present-ay international standard.” Only debutant goalkeeper Rouse (Crystal Palace) came out with any credit and he let in 4 goals!
The scoring begun in the 7th minute through McParland when he “headed a splendid goal from a cross by [Wilbur] Cush” of Leeds United.
Northern Ireland were soon two goals to the good when only 5 minutes later McParland on the left passed short to Peacock who ran onto the ball just inside the area and scored.
Wales did have their own half chances and on one such occasion a corner by Jones reached Medwin (Tottenham Hotspur) but his shot was wide of the mark.
On 32 minutes Ireland took a three goal lead from McIlroy who reacted quickest to the ball ricocheting off Rouse’s chest after a shot from McParland.
The score remained 3-0 to Northern Ireland until half-time.
Again a lacklustre Welsh side failed to trouble Irish goalkeeper Harry Gregg (Manchester United) throughout the second half. Northern Ireland dominated the match but were only able to add one further goal to their total. The goal came in the 80th minute through McParland who scored his second of the game to make the score 4-0 to Northern Ireland.
Wales did however, manage a consolation goal two minutes from the final whistle when Jones’ cross was met by Tapscott (Cardiff City) who flicked the ball past Gregg.
The match finished Northern Ireland 4 – 1 Wales.
* Trivia –
After that rout of Wales, Northern Ireland lost their next 11 consecutive games, stretching over two and a half years from April 1959 until October 1961.