14/10/1964 Belfast Switzerland 1-0 Johnny Crossan pen
Pat Jennings, Jimmy Magill, Alex Elder, Martin Harvey, Terry Neill, Billy McCullough, Johnny Crossan, Sammy Wilson, Jimmy McLaughlin, Bobby Braithwaite, George Best
NORTHERN IRELAND SCRAPE THROUGH
The Times – Thursday 15th October
Northern Ireland, the first of the British countries to start their World Cup qualifying matches for the 1966 tournament, began with a narrow victory over Switzerland at Windsor Park, Belfast, last evening. The deciding goal came from a penalty by Crossan, the Sunderland inside right, shortly after the start of the second half.
Complaints by Elsener, the Swiss goalkeeper, that things had been thrown towards him by someone in the crowd, led to hold-ups in the match.
Ireland, for their speed and enthusiasm on a ground left heavy by rain, deserved to win. But the Swiss, who had two notable players in Durr, at right half, and Schindelholz, at outside-left, frequently gave the Irish defence a lesson in ball control.
Best, the young Manchester United right winger, was in the thick of the fray all the time with his fast running and strong shooting. Had the Irish been steadier at crucial moments they would have won by a wide margin. They go to Lausanne for the return match on November 14.
14/10/2014 Athens Greece 2-0 Jamie Ward, Kyle Lafferty
Roy Carroll, Connor McLaughlin, Gareth McAuley, Aaron Hughes, Shane Ferguson (Ben Reeves), Chris Baird, Corry Evans, Steven Davis, Oliver Norwood, Jamie Ward (Ryan McGivern), Kyle Lafferty (John Magennis)
“It’s nice to have that record [winning first three matches of a qualifying campaign] but the main thing is the performance and the three points. There wasn’t a player we couldn’t give plaudits to, every one of them was magnificent. I’m delighted with how we played – our work-rate, our belief and the fact that we were difficult to break down while being dangerous from set-pieces and on the break.”
“He [Kyle Lafferty] has all the attributes you need in a good centre forward. Kyle has been fantastic in the three games. He’s facing international defenders who just can’t handle him. He has ability, technique, pace and size.”
“It’s been unbelievable – the performances as a whole in the last campaign weren’t too bad but we weren’t picking up results, just having errors punished. We seem to have nipped that in the bud this campaign.”