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Results 1946-1950                     Page Last Updated 25 November 2021


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251 vs. Ireland
Saturday, 9 October 1948
Home International Championship 1948-49 (54th) Match

Ireland 2 England 6
Windsor Park, Donegall Avenue, Belfast, county Antrim
Kick-off (BST): 3.00pm.

Attendance: 53,629 (a new record attendance for Ireland);
Receipts: £6,800.
Johnny Carey won the toss Jackie Milburn kicked off

[0-1] Billy Smyth own goal 27
Stan Matthews' centre from the left wing that went in off the post and then the 'keepers back
News 1.10 Itma 1.40 Listen to the Band 2.10 The Song Pedlars 2.30 Sandy Macpherson
(449m) Orchestral Hour. (285m) Football—Ireland v. England.
Rugby—England v. Australia
4.35 (app) The Ghost and Mrs Muir
John Madin Organ 1.30 Ballet Music 2.0 New Books and Old Books 2.30 Band Call 3.5 Racing  3.20 "If You Knew Susie"
Football—Ireland v. England.
4.45 Artillery Mounted Band 5.30 Sports Report 6.0 Charles Smart
[1-1] Davy Walsh header 49
 a fine header from an John O'Driscoll cross

[2-6] Davy Walsh
 robbed Howe and walked around Swift to score into an empty net.
"with the last kick of the match"

[1-2] Jackie Milburn header 55
well-placed header from a Stan Matthews cross
[1-3] Stan Mortensen 62
from a Billy Wright low centre after he dispossessed Tully
[1-4] Stan Mortensen 66
lobbed the ball over the keepers head
[1-5] Stan Mortensen header 74

flying header from a Harry Cockburn freekick

[1-6] Stan Pearson header 88
headed in a faultless Stan Matthews centre
"covered by the BBC's Home Service (first half) and Light Programme (second half)"
Officials Ireland UK ruling on substitutes England
William E. Webb
Ireland Team
Rank: No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 30th
Colours: Green jerseys, white shorts, blue socks.
Capt: John Carey Selector: Selection Committee
on Thursday, 30 September 1949 in Belfast
headed by
T.H. Chambers and R. Patterson.
Ireland Lineup
  Smyth, William T. 24/25 1923
died January 2005 aged 81 years
G Distillery FC 1 6ᵍᵃ
the fifteenth own goal scored for England
2 Carey, John J.  29
229 days
23 February 1919 RB Manchester United FC, England 5 0
also has fifteen appearances for Éire, and two goals
3 Martin, Cornelius J. 25
203 days
20 March 1923 LB Aston Villa FC, England 5 0
also has five appearances for Éire
4 Walsh, William R. 27
131 days
31 May 1921 RHB Manchester City FC, England 4 0
also has two appearances for Éire
5 Vernon, John J.  30
13 days
26 September 1918 CHB West Bromwich Albion FC, England 7 0
6 Farrell, Peter D. 26
54 days
16 August 1922 LHB Everton FC, England 6 0
also has six appearances for Éire
O'Driscoll, John F. 27
19 days
20 September 1921 OR Swansea Town FC, England 1 0
8 McAlinden, James 30
283 days
31 December 1917 IR Southend United FC, England 4 0
also has two appearances for Éire final app 1948
Walsh, David J. 25
164 days
28 April 1923 CF West Bromwich Albion FC, England 6 3
also has two appearances for Éire
10 Tully, Charles P. 24
90 days
11 July 1924 IL The Celtic FC, Scotland 1 0
11 Eglington, Thomas J.  25
268 days
15 January 1923 OL Everton FC, England 6 0
final app 1948
reserve: Bud Aherne (Belfast Celtic FAC)
team notes: David Cochrane (Leeds United AFC) was the original named outside-right, his place going to O'Driscoll, and Sammy Smyth (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC) was on his inside, McAlinden was named as his replacement, both on Tuesday, 5 October. Cochrane and Smyth were deemed unfit.
Johnny Carey, Tommy Eglington, Con Martin, Billy Walsh, all played for Éire against England in 1946.
Jimmy McAlinden signed for Southend United FC on Wednesday, 6 October.
The Irish team were based from Mount Royal Hotel in Donaghadee, County Down.
2-3-5 Smyth -
Carey, Martin -

W.Walsh, Vernon, Farrell -
O'Driscoll, MacAlinden,
D.Walsh, Tully, Eglingbton.
Averages: Age 26 years 359 days
to 27 years 27 days
Appearances/Goals 4.2 0.1
England Team
Rank: No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 3rd to 2nd
Colours: The 1946 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, red socks.
16th, W 12 - D 3 - L 1 - F 59 - A 12.¹⁸
Capt: Billy Wright
first, W 1 - D 0 - L 0 - F 6 - A 2.⁹⁰
Manager: Walter Winterbottom, 35 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
16th match, W 12 - D 3 - L 1 - F 59 - A 12.¹³⁹
Team chosen by Selection Committee headed by Arthur Drewry, on Tuesday, 28 September 1948
England Lineup
  Swift, Frank V. 34
288 days
26 December 1913 G Manchester City FC 16 14ᵍᵃ
2 Scott, Lawrence 31
169 days
23 April 1917 RB Arsenal FC 16 0
3 Howe, John R. 32
2 days
7 October 1915 LB Derby County FC 2 0
Wright, William A. 24
246 days
6 February 1924 RHB Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 16 0
5 Franklin, Cornelius 26
259 days
24 January 1922 CHB Stoke City FC 16 0
Cockburn, Henry 27
25 days
14 September 1921 LHB Manchester United FC 7 0
Matthews, Stanley 33
251 days
1 February 1915 OR Blackpool FC 27 9
Mortensen, Stanley H. 27
136 days
26 May 1921 IR Blackpool FC 8 14
the 43rd (sixth post-war) hattrick scored
675 9
Milburn, John E.T. 24
151 days
11 May 1924 CF Newcastle United FC 1 1
fifteenth United player to represent England
Pearson, Stanley C. 29
272 days
11 January 1919 IL Manchester United FC 2 1
11 Finney, Thomas 26
187 days
5 April 1922 OL Preston North End FC 13 11
reserve: Bill Nicholson (Tottenham Hotspur FC)
team notes: "The honour of captaincy goes to one of the youngest members of the team. Wright is only 24, but he has been on the Wolverhampton books since 14. England first picked him two years ago. In relieving Swift of the responsibility, the selectors have apparently come to the conclusion that a goalkeeper is not the player best suited to be captain." - Belfast News-Letter, Wednesday, 29 September 1948.
records: This victory extends the post-war unbeaten record. England have gone nine games without loss, beating the previous record of six set between 1946-47.
The English team were based in Newcastle prior to the match, County Down. Crossing the Irish Sea in the Ulster Monarch.
2-3-5 Swift -
Scott, Howe -
Wright, Franklin, Cockburn -
Matthews, Mortensen, Milburn, Pearson, Finney.
Averages: Age 29 years 17 days Appearances/Goals 11.3 2.8

""Congratulations!" said Miss Helen Mearden, the bus conductress. "Thank you," I replied, trying to be polite but wondering what it was all about. "Yes," went on Miss Mearden, "it's a great honour to be chosen to captain England." Captain of England! If I had felt a little drowsy after so much travel those three words had the same effect as a bucket of ice-cold water being emptied over me. Miss Mearden must have noticed the look of surprise on my face, for she handed me a newspaper, saying, "The England team to meet Ireland is in the Stop Press column."" - Billy Wright, The World is My Football Pitch, p69.

        Match Report by Mike Payne

Some 53,000 people packed into Windsor Park to see this match. The result went against the home side but in no way did the final scoreline tell the full story. Indeed, only in the last 30 minutes did England finally get on top.

The game had begun with Ireland pressing forward in their usual passionate style. Frank Swift, Lionel Scott and Jack Howe all showed hesitancy in the English defence and the Irish should really have pressed home the advantage that their early play had given them. As it was, they were punished by a freak goal by Stanley Matthews after 27 minutes which gave England a lead they barely deserved.

Taking a throw-in on Tom Finney's wing, Matthews received a return pass from Jackie Milburn. He then swung across a curling centre which ricocheted off the far post, hit Smyth on the back and went into the net. It was an amazing goal and cruel luck for the Irish. England's only other worthwhile attack of the first half came just before the break when, following a brilliant five man move, Mortensen had Smyth at full stretch to save.

Five minutes into the second half, Northern Ireland equalised. O'Driscoll beat Howe for speed and Dave Walsh headed home his cross in fine style. For a few moments it seemed that the now rampant home team might forge ahead. But suddenly and unexpectedly, England and especially Matthews came to life. Within ten minutes it was 4-1 to the visitors!

First Milburn headed in Matthews' cross. Then Mortensen headed in a pass from Billy Wright after more good work by the Blackpool winger, before finally Mortensen got on the end of a fine cross by Stan Pearson to cleverly lob the ball over the advancing Smyth. Quite suddenly it was all over and the crowd, so excited a few minutes earlier, were dazed into a stunned silence.

Finney now began to lose Carey, after previously having been well held by the full-back. Milburn showed dash and spirit and England at last were now moving as a team.

Two more headers added to the goals tally. First Mortensen scored his third goal by heading a Henry Cockburn free-kick; then Pearson added number-six with a header from yet another Matthews cross.  England had thus scored five goals in a little over 30 minutes. With the last kick of the game, Dave Walsh scored his and Northern Ireland's second, only to leave everyone wondering just what an earth had gone wrong.


        Match Report by Norman Giller

Billy Wright's first of 90 matches as England captain. The two Stanleys - Matthews and Mortensen - dominated the match. Matthews scored the first and helped lay on a hat-trick for his Blackpool team-mate. The Matthews goal was a freak effort. His centre from the right curled and hit an upright. The ball bounced against the head of Irish goalkeeper Willie Smyth and into the net.  'Wor Jackie' Milburn announced his debut with a neatly headed goal. Davie Walsh scored his second goal with the last kick of the match to bring a little respectability to a scoreline that flattered England. Five of the England goals came in a 30 minute burst in the second-half. The Irish more than held their own for the other hour, and might have had at least two more goals but for some desperate work by the England defenders.

        Match Report as appears in the F.A. Yearbook 1949-50, pages 22 & 23

There were five changes in the team which met Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast, on October 9th. Howe (Derby County) replaced Aston as left-back, while the forward line consisted of Matthews, Mortensen (Blackpool), Milburn (Newcastle United), Pearson (Manchester United) and Finney (Preston North End).
The first goal of the match went to England after 27 minutes. It was a freak goal -- Matthews forced a throw-in, which he took himself near the corner-flag. Receiving a return-pass from Milburn he swung across a smashing centre which deceived Smyth and ricocheted into the goal from the far post.
Five minutes after the interval, Walsh (D) left Swift helpless with a fine header, equalising for Ireland. Then suddenly Matthews found the crack in the Irish defence, and within ten minutes England had three more goals to their credit, two from Mortensen and one from Milburn. Shortly afterwards Mortensen completed his hat-trick, with a flying header fro Cockburn's free-kick and, two minutes later, Pearson headed into goal from a faultless centre by Matthews. Ireland came back unexpectedly at the end, when Walsh (D) scored their second goal with the last kick of the match.


        Source Notes
Original newspaper reports
Northern Ireland's Footballing Greats
  Rothman's Yearbooks
Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record

Norman Giller, Football Author
Billy Wright's The World is My Football Pitch