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273 vs. Ireland

Wednesday, 14 November 1951
Home International Championship 1951-52 (57th) Match

England 2 Ireland 0 [1-0]

Villa Park, Trinity Road, Aston, Birmingham, Warwickshire
Kick-off (GMT): 2.30pm.

Attendance: 57,889;
Receipts: £11,947;

unknown kicked-off  
[1-0] Nat Lofthouse 40
 6-yard diving header from a Finney lobbed cross

[2-0] Nat Lofthouse 83

 Uprichard fumbled a Sewell cross for Lofthouse to push the ball over the goalline
  Match Summary
England Party
Ireland Party

Match Summary

Officials from Wales




Referee (-) - Benjamin Mervyn Griffiths
42 (17 January 1909), Abertillery, Monmouthshire.

Linesmen - F. Owen, Llay (red flag) and F. Roberts, Bangor (yellow flag).

No substitues permitted, as per UK ruling.

  Goal Attempts  
  Attempts on Target  
  Hit Bar/Post  
  Corner Kicks Won  
  Offside Calls Against  
  Fouls Conceded  

England Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 5th to 4th
Colours: The 1949 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, red socks.
Capt: Billy Wright, 23rd captaincy,
equalling Compton's record
Trainer: Hubert Bourne (Aston Villa FC)
Walter Winterbottom, 38 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
41st match, W 28 - D 6 - L 7 - F 126 - A 47.
Team chosen by Selection Committee headed by Arthur Drewry, on Monday, 5 November 1951.
England Lineup
73   Merrick, Gilbert H. 29 26 January 1922 G Birmingham City FC 1 0ᵍᵃ
2 Ramsey, Alfred E. 31 22 January 1920 RB Tottenham Hotspur FC 17 0
3 Smith, Lionel 31 23 August 1920 LB Arsenal FC 3 0
4 Wright, William A. 27 6 February 1924 RHB

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

38 3
5 Barrass, Malcolm W. 26 13 December 1924 CHB Bolton Wanderers FC 2 0
6 Dickinson, James W. 26 24 April 1925 LHB

Portsmouth FC

15 0
7 Finney, Thomas 29 5 April 1922 OR

Preston North End FC

35 20
711 8 Sewell, John 24 24 January 1927 IR Sheffield Wednesday FC 1 0
9 Lofthouse, Nathaniel 26 27 August 1925 CF Bolton Wanderers FC 3 4
712 10 Phillips, Leonard H. 29 11 September 1922 IL Portsmouth FC 1 0
11 Medley, Leslie D. 31 3 September 1920 OL Tottenham Hotspur FC 5 1


Bill Nicholson (Tottenham Hotspur FC) and Stan Pearson (Manchester United FC)

team notes:

Merrick becomes the fourth goalkeeper from Birmingham City, following Chris Charsley (1893), Dan Tremelling (1928) and Harry Hibbs (1930-36).
The team set up in Leamington Spa prior to the match, using the Leamington Lockheed FC ground to train on.
The three debutants took the total of players used by Walter Winterbottom, under ISC's jurisdiction, to 61.
2-3-5 Merrick -
Ramsey, Smith -
Wright, Barass, Dickinson -
Finney, Sewell, Lofthouse, Phillips, Medley


Age 28.1 Appearances/Goals 11.0 2.4


Ireland Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 49th
Colours: Green jerseys, white shorts, blue socks.
Capt: Jack Vernon Manager: Peter Dermot Doherty, 38 (5 June 1913), appointed October 1951, also player-manager at Doncaster Rovers FC since June 1949.
second match, W 0 - D - 0 - L 2 - F 0 - A 5,
team chosen on Monday 5 November 1951
Ireland Lineup
  Uprichard, W. Norman M. 23 20 April 1928 G Swindon Town FC, England 2 5ᵍᵃ
2 Graham, W.G. Leonard 26 17 October 1925 RB Doncaster Rovers FC, England 4 0
3 McMichael, Alfred 24 1 October 1927 LB Newcastle United FC, England 7 0
4 Dickson, William 28 15 March 1923 RHB Chelsea FC, England 4 0
5 Vernon, John J.  33 26 September 1918 CHB West Bromwich Albion FC, England 17 0
6 McCourt, Francis J. 25 9 December 1925 LHB Manchester City FC, England 1 0
7 Bingham, William L. 20 5 August 1931 OR Sunderland AFC, England 3 0
8 Smyth, Samuel 26 25 February 1925 IR Stoke City FC, England 9 5
9 McMorran, Edward J. 28 2 September 1923 CF Barnsley FC, England 6 1
10 McIlroy, James 20 25 October 1931 IL Burnley FC, England 2 0
11 McKenna, John 25 6 June 1926 OL Huddersfield Town AFC, England 7 0


Danny Blanchflower (Aston Villa FC)

team notes:

Manager Peter Doherty played for Ireland against England on seven separate occasions from 1935 until 1947, scoring one in 1947.
Bertie Peacock (Rangers FC) was the original chosen inside-left, his place going to McIlroy on 9 November after Peacock twisted his knee.
The Ireland team were also set up in Leamington Spa before this match.
2-3-5 Uprichard -
Graham, McMichael -
DIckson, Vernon, McCourt -
Bingham, Smyth, McMorran, McIlroy, McKenna


Age 25.3 Appearances/Goals 5.6 0.5


    Match Report by Mike Payne

With Scotland surprisingly losing at home to Wales this win proved very important in the race for the Home International Championship. Once again, though, it was a poor performance by England and indeed, a poor game overall.

With both defences well-organised all the fowards found it hard to make headway. Nat Lofthouse was the most dangerous of the England players and in one of the rare first-half attacking moves he almost scored. A fine crossfield pass by Len Phillips sent Tom Finney away and split the Irish defence wide open. Finney's pass found Lofthouse and only a desperate dive by Uprichard at the big centre-forward's feet saved the day. England's only other worthwile attack of the half brought them a goal.

A fine move from Phillips to Lofthouse, square to Jackie Sewell, back to Lofthouse, on to Finney, and a centre into the middle met by a crashing header from Lofthouse again.

The goal brought hope for a better second half but, alas, the game never got any better, Both Sewell and Phillips were a little predictable in their play and only three moments in the second half warranted a mention.
McMorran was unlucky with Northern Ireland's best effort of the match when his tremendous 25-yard shot crashed against the angle of the post and the crossbar after he beat Malcolm Barass, not for the first time.

The second moment was when a firwork went off surprising a touch-line photographer, much to the crowd's amusement. The final highlight gave England their second and decisive goal. It came thanks to a bad mistake by Uprichard seven minutes from the end. A harmless looking centre from Sewell was dropped by the goalkeeper straight to the feet of the lurking Lofthouse and before you could say his name the ball was in the back of the net to make it 2-0.

    Match Report by Norman Giller

The selectors experimented by giving inside-forwards Jackie Sewell and Len Phillips their first caps either side of Nat Lofthouse, who scored a goal in each half. Birmingham City goalkeeper Gil Merrick made the short journey to Villa Park for his first of twenty-three caps.  He kept a clean sheet, but was lucky in the second half when a screaming twenty-five yard shot from Barnsley forward Eddie McMorran crashed against the crossbar. Billy Wright gave a vintage performance. He was the boss both of the defence and the midfield. His tackles were panther-like in their speed, and then he always found a team-mate with a well judged pass.

Source Notes

Original newspaper reports
Rothman's Yearbooks
Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record (Breedon Books Publishing Company, Derby, U.K., 1993)
Northern Ireland's Footballing Greats

Norman Giller
, Football Author