10/05/1969 Belfast Wales 0-0
Pat Jennings, Dave Craig, Alex Elder, Sammy Todd, Terry Neill, Jimmy Nicholson, Eric McMordie, Derek Dougan, Tommy Jackson, Dave Clements (Terry Harkin), George Best
Most 0-0 draws are often thought of as being boring and uneventful. This match was probably worse than that! It was so bad in fact that “a slow handclap a quarter of an hour from the end” took place among the fans.
Although Northern Ireland had drawn with Scotland in their previous match the dominance of England who were still World Cup holders meant that this match was a dead rubber at the end of a long hard season and the players seemed to lack any enthusiasm to entertain. It didn’t help that rain fell continuously onto the terracing, soaking the fans that had turned up to watch the game. According to The Glasgow Herald match report the players also had to “contend with a pitch covered in puddles and heavy enough to sap the energy of the fittest.”
The players did not seem to care that the winner of the match would avoid the tournaments wooden spoon (Ireland needing only a draw); they all appeared to have their minds focused on their sunshine breaks rather than a wet miserable evening in Belfast.
Derek Dougan had a couple of chances to score for Northern Ireland but a miss kick with the player ending up on his bottom in the muck and a bad miss over the bar from inside the six yard line.
Wales’ best chance fell to Wyn Davies whose header brought out a save from Pat Jennings.
In the end Ireland got the draw they needed to avoid the wooden spoon which was awarded to Wales. England won the tournament for the second year in succession.