10/10/1962 Katowice Poland 2-0 Derek Dougan, Billy Humphries
Bobby Irvine, Jimmy Magill, Alex Elder, Danny Blanchflower, Sammy Hatton, Jimmy Nicholson, Billy Humphries, Hugh Barr, Derek Dougan, Jimmy McIlroy, Billy Bingham
The Times – Thursday 11th October
KATOWICE, POLAND, Oct. 10. – Northern Ireland made a fine start to their European Nations Cup challenge when they beat Poland here tonight. Against a strong Polish side, the Irishmen scored in each half without reply, and face the return leg in Belfast next month with confidence.
The goals were scored by their centre-forward, Dougan, and the outside right, Humphries. The Irish were worthy of their unexpected victory. Their attack, with the Burnley inside forward, McIlroy, in brilliant form was always a threat, and for long periods the Poles were defending desperately.
Poland held the initiative for the first five minutes, during which it seemed that Northern Ireland would adopt a defensive policy. Then, when they had the measure of their opponents, the Irish went into the attack. The first goal followed a pass from Blanchflower to Humphries. The right winger centred, and Dougan, quicker to the ball than two Polish defenders, completed the movement.
Poland seemed to lose heart, and it was only a question of time before Ireland scored again. The goal followed a movement which spreadeagled the Polish defence, and was rounded off by Humphries’ shot going in off a post.
This game was Northern Ireland first in the European Nations Cup a forerunner to the European Championships held today. Instead of group matches, knockout rounds consisting of two legs were held. This was the first leg tie between Poland and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland were the underdogs in this match and the 2-0 victory was one of the greatest away from home by an IFA side.
Sammy Hatton was a last minute replacement for the injured Terry Neill and a lot of work had to be done to acquire him a visa to travel to Poland (Eastern Europe was under the cloud of the Soviet Union). A visa was obtained with only minutes to spare after a dramatic taxi dash across London in rush hour traffic. Hatton who played at centre-half in the match did not earn a match fee as he was an amateur with Linfield at the time (Linfield had won all 7 domestic trophies a in 1962).
The flight to Warsaw was delayed due to a technical fault and then diverted to Copenhagen. The team arriving near midnight could now not catch the train to the match venue Katowice. Belfast Telegraph reporter Malcolm Brodie remembers: “Hotel accommodation was at a premium, so we were hurriedly moved by the Polish Federation into the Praga One, where residents were told to leave their rooms, beds quickly remade and the Ireland party accommodated. Some of the residents had to sleep in chairs in corridors. And on the train the next day all seats had been reserved for other parties, so most of the Irish FA group had to stand in the corridors or sit on the floors on that tiresome journey to dark, depressing Katowice…”
According to then IFA President Harry Cavan the “Polish spectators burned their newspapers on the terraces” after the defeat.
10/10/1998 Belfast Finland 1-0 Keith Rowland
Alan Fettis, Aaron Hughes, Kevin Horlock, Phil Mulryne, Darren Patterson, Steve Morrow, Keith Gillespie (Jon McCarthy), Neil Lennon, Iain Dowie (George O’Boyle), Michael Hughes, Keith Rowland (James Quinn)
“I told them I didn’t want to play number three, when I played in Turkey last month I was number three, even though I was playing left midfield, and Kevin played number 11. I’ve never actually won while wearing the number three shirt for Northern Ireland and so I was anxious to change it. It was getting late, though, and the numbers were down on the team sheet, but I asked if I could change and have the number 11 shirt. Kevin had no problem with it, but the rest of the lads gave me a bit of stick about it and they said if we lost the game it would be my fault. Luckily enough, though, everything turned out great, and I scored the only goal.”
“This is our first important win in a while, and it’s a great boost for the lads, before this game it was very much billed as: lose this and that would be the end of our campaign. Now if we get three points when we play Moldova then we will be going into Christmas with six points from three games, which isn’t a bad thing to be looking at.”
“I think I’ve only scored about three or four goals so it is easily my most important goal, it was a great through ball by Michael Hughes and I actually thought I had lost the chance to shoot because I had taken an extra touch in the box. The ball was behind me so I just thought I would have a go at it and luckily enough it went into the bottom corner. It’s great to be playing international football, the situation with myself is that I was brought back in for the Turkey game. I played a half out there and I thought I did quite well, but the manager took me off because he wanted to change things. It’s great that he included me in this squad, and to play was a real bonus.”
“I was considering having an injection on my ankle before the game, but the doctor advised against it and that proved to be a wise decision.”
“It was a good move for the goal and he finished it well, but then he is a regular goalscorer, we have not been noted for our forward power and I was really pleased that we have created four to six chances, which at international level is very good. There was a chance in the first minute which fell to Steve Morrow, then one to Michael Hughes and if you add those all up then we fully deserve to win. The next step for us obviously is that we have got to start converting more of them. I must admit, though, that the last 10 minutes were quite nerve-wracking and I was going grey.”