28/05/1983 Belfast England 0-0
Pat Jennings, Jimmy Nicholl, Mal Donaghy, Chris Nicholl, John McClelland, Ian Stewart, Martin O’Neill, Gerry Mullan (Noel Brotherston), Billy Hamilton, Gerry Armstrong, Sammy McIlroy
If anything was going to revive the Home Championship, this certainly wasn’t it. Bobby Robson, still in his first season as manager, was experimenting. Two more players were given their debuts – Graham Roberts and John Barnes, whilst Glenn Hoddle was given his first start under the new manager. Roberts, in particular, had a torrid time, certainly in the first period of the match. He did, though, have Peter Shilton to thank for a wonderful save to prevent him from marking his debut with an own goal. For some reason, he stooped to head a very low cross from Armstrong, and it nearly went horribly wrong.
Meanwhile, Barnes, who came on with 20 minutes left for the injured Luther Blissett, had little opportunity to show his talents. He was generally isolated out wide, but he was given one goalscoring chance, that was struck well, but the angle was too tight, and Pat Jennings saved. As for Hoddle, his was probably the brightest performance in a very disappointing England display.
The Irish defence did their job well, with John McClelland proving outstanding. Ian Stewart was lively and had one reasonable chance, but Shilton saved. Northern Ireland had not lost at home since England themselves won 5-1 back in 1979. The early 1980s was easily the best period of Northern Ireland’s entire footballing history, so England’s failure to win was not all that surprising.