28/11/1962 Belfast Poland 2-0 Johnny Crossan, Billy Bingham
Bobby Irvine, Jimmy Magill, Alex Elder, Danny Blanchflower, Terry Neill, Jimmy Nicholson, Billy Bingham, Johnny Crossan, Derek Dougan, Jimmy McIlroy, Bobby Braithwaite
POLAND RARELY IN THE PICTURE
The Times – Thursday 29th November
Northern Ireland progressed to the second round of the European Nations Cup at Windsor Park, Belfast, last night by repeating their 2-0 success of the first leg game at Katowice last month against Poland. Crossan made a successful return to international football, scoring the first goal and helping to make the other. Crossan, now with Sunderland following the recent lifting of his suspension by the Football League, stamped his personality on the game soon after the start when he hooked home a splendid shot. He showed his trickery at inside forward throughout the match and consolidated his side’s 1-0 interval advantage when combining with McIlroy to give Bingham the chance to score Ireland’s second goal midway through the second half…
Russia are the holders of the European Nations Cup and the final of the present competition is not due to be played until the summer of 1964.
Northern Ireland win 4-0 on aggregate.
Johnny ‘Joby’ Crossan had endured three years in exile, banned from British football for alleged transfer irregularities. Almost immediately on his return to British football, Crossan was awarded an international recall. He marked the occasion, a European Nations Cup clash against Poland, with perhaps the pick of his ten international goals. A Billy Bingham cross from the right found Crossan on the edge of the box and he struck the ball at waist height with his right foot. The stunning 25-yard volley sailed into the goal at the Kop end, setting Northern Ireland on the way to a 2-0 win. “It’s all like a fairy story,” recalls Crossan. “And what a wonderful ending … I got both feet off the ground continental style and volleyed it home … It was one of the most memorable goals of my career.”
Johnny Crossan: “It was the night before my 22nd birthday and the first goal since my suspension was lifted. I had only hit the bar for Sunderland. Sadly most of my relatives didn’t see it. They had been involved in an accident en route to Windsor Park and got in too late. There was no television at the game and I’ve seen very few photographs of the goal. But so many people can describe it vividly. I suppose it might have been a bit special. Billy Bingham knocked in our other goal and I did some of the work. But nobody seems to recall that one.”
* Trivia –
Danny Blanchflower received a gold medal after the match marking half a century of caps for Northern Ireland. The Polish squad chipped-in with a cigar box as their tribute to a true footballing great.