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Wednesday, 11 November 1953
Home International Championship 1953-54 (59th) Match

Championnat du Monde de Football Group Three Qualification Match

England 3 Ireland 1 [1-0]


Match Summary
England Party
Ireland Party

Goodison Park, Walton, Liverpool, Lancashire
Kick-off (GMT): 2.30pm.
Attendance: 70,700; Receipts: £13,000.

England kicked-off Ireland won the toss
[1-0] Harold Hassall 1 00:22
 22-yard shot that went under Smyth's diving body

[2-1] Harold Hassall 60
 placed header from a Wright cross

[3-1] Nat Lofthouse
 10-yard looped header from a Mullen cross

[1-1] Eddie McMorran 52
12-yard header hit the post and rebounded in off Merrick's head from a Bingham cross.

Match Summary

Officials from Wales




Referee (black) - Robert Edward Smith
36 (23 June 1917), Newport.

Linesmen - L. Higgins, Gwersyllt (yellow flag) and T. Williams, Dyserth (red 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 3rd
Colours: The 1949 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, red socks.
Capt: Billy Wright, 39th captaincy Manager: Walter Winterbottom, 40 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
57th match, W 37 - D 12 - L 8 - F 171 - A 71, one abandoned. Team chosen by Selection Committee headed by Harold Shentall on Monday, 2 November 1953..
England Lineup
  Merrick, Gilbert H. 31 26 January 1922 G Birmingham City FC 16 21ᵍᵃ
2 Rickaby, Stanley 29 12 March 1924 RB West Bromwich Albion FC 1 0
3 Eckersley, William 28 16 July 1925 LB Blackburn Rovers FC 16 0
4 Wright, William A. 29 6 February 1924 RHB

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

54 3
5 Johnston, Harry 34 26 September 1919 CHB Blackpool FC 9 0
6 Dickinson, James W. 28 24 April 1925 LHB

Portsmouth FC

31 0
7 Matthews, Stanley 38 1 February 1915 OR Blackpool FC 35 10
8 Quixall, Albert 20 9 August 1933 IR Sheffield Wednesday FC 3 0
9 Lofthouse, Nathaniel, injured off 75th min. 28 27 August 1925 CF Bolton Wanderers FC 19 20
10 Hassall, Harold W. 24 4 March 1929 IL Bolton Wanderers FC 5 4
11 Mullen, James 30 6 January 1923 OL

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

9 4


Len Quested (Huddersfield Town AFC)

team notes:

The England team were set up in Southport, training at the Haig Avenue ground.
Billy Wright extends his record appearance tally.
Nat Lofthouse collided with Ireland's Billy Dickson as he scored the final goal. A cut over his right eye resulted in two stitches!
2-3-5 Merrick -
Rickaby, Eckersley -
Wright, Johnston, Dickinson -
Matthews, Quixall, Lofthouse, Hassall, Mullen.


Age 29.0 Appearances/Goals 18.0 3.5


Ireland Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 53rd
Colours: Green jerseys with white collars, white shorts, blue socks with white tops.
Capt: Alf McMichael Manager: Peter Dermot Doherty, 40 (5 June 1913), appointed October 1951, also manager at Doncaster Rovers FC since June 1949.
ninth match, W 0 - D - 2 - L 7 - F 8 - A 26.
Team chosen on Monday, 2 November 1953.
Ireland Lineup
  Smyth, William T., injured off 76th min 27/28 1925 G Distillery FC 4 15ᵍᵃ
2 Graham, W.G. Leonard 28 17 October 1925 RB Doncaster Rovers FC, England 8 0
3 McMichael, Alfred 26 1 October 1927 LB Newcastle United FC, England 14 0
4 Blanchflower, R. Dennis 27 10 February 1926 RHB
Aston Villa FC, England 12 0
5 Dickson, William 30 15 March 1923 CHB
Arsenal FC, England 10 0
6 Cush, Wilbur 25 10 June 1928 LHB Glenavon FC 4 0
7 Bingham, William L. 22 5 August 1931 OR Sunderland AFC, England 10 0
8 McIlroy, James 22 25 October 1931 IR Burnley FC, England 8 0
9 Simpson, William J. 23 12 December 1929 CF Rangers FC, Scotland 4 2
10 McMorran, Edward J. 30 2 September 1923 IL Doncaster Rovers FC, England 12 4
11 Lockhart, Norman H. 29 4 March 1924 OL Aston Villa FC, England 6 3


Jim McCabe (Leeds United AFC)

team notes:

Manager Peter Doherty played for Ireland against England on seven separate occasions from 1935 until 1947, scoring one in 1947.
The Ireland team were also set-up in Southport prior to the match.
Charlie Tully (The Celtic) was the original named outside-left He tore his leg ligaments, and carried off after 35 minutes in his team's League match against Hibernians, his place going to Lockhart on Monday, 9 November.
Billy Smyth, in diving at the feet of Jimmy Mullen, broke his nose, he was replaced in goal after 76 minutes by Billy Dickson.
2-3-5 Smyth (Dickson) -
Graham, McMichael -
Blanchflower, Dickson
(Blanchflower), Cush -
Bingham, McIlroy, Simpson, McMorran, Lockhart.
notes: following the Smyth injury, Dickson took over in goal and Blanchflower went to the centre.


Age 26.3 Appearances/Goals 8.4 0.7


    Match Report by Mike Payne

By winning this match England duly qualified for the World Cup finals to be held in June of the following year in Switzerland, but their performance on the day would not send too many fears to the other competing nations.

It was a poor game with the Irish showing up better than England for long spells. With their wing-halves, Blanchflower and Cush, dominating the midfield battle, they should have capitalised on their superiority. As it was, they were given a lesson in finishing.

Even a gift goal for England after only 30 seconds could not inspire the home side. A cross shot by Harold Hassall seemed easy for Smyth but the goalkeeper unaccounatbly allowed the ball to squirm under his body and into the net. Having been given a terrific start, it was disappointing to see England fail to build on it. Their team was non-existent and there was no cohesion in their performance. Not so Northern Ireland!

With Blanchflower outstanding and McIlroy, Cush and Bingham working tirelessly, they came back strongly. Alas, their finishing was poor although credit must go to the excellent defensive play of Harry Johnston, Jimmy Dickinson and Gil Merrick. At the other end, ,Smyth made up for his earlier blunder by pulling off a thrilling point-blank save from Hassall. But that was an isolated raid by England and they were somehwat fortunate to see their lead still intact at the half-time whistle.

Nine minutes after the interval, though, Northern Ireland deservedly equalized. Bingham sent over a right-wing cross and McMorran headed past Merrick. The goalkeeper was a little unlucky as the ball rebounded off his body and into the net but it was no more than the Irish deserved.

From that moment, England had to turn to the one saving grace of their day. Once again it was the incomparable Stanley Matthews who shone like a beacon on the dull afternoon's proceedings. His footwork was superb and he wandered into the middle to test all the Irish defenders.

It was Matthews who began the move on the hour that gave England the lead again. A lovely piece of trickery ended with a pass to Billy Wright. The captain moved down the right wing before crossing for Hassall to lead a fine goal from 15 yards into the top corner.

A quarter of an hour later England made the game safe with a third goal. This time Jimmy Mullen was the provider as his long centre was crashed into the net by the head of Nat Lofthouse. After the goal, both Lofthouse and Smyth left the field injured. Lofthouse, already limping, had hurt his head and Smyth left the action with a broken nose.

Dickson took over in goal for the Irish but was not seriously troubled in the remaining minutes. It was a case for Ireland to reflect on their missed chances on the first half especially, whilst for England only Matthews, Johnston, Dickinson and Merrick could be satisfied with their display.

    Match Report by Norman Giller

Harold Hassall, playing alongside his Bolton team-mate Nat Lofthouse, scored the first of his two goals in just thirty seconds to mark his international recall after two years. It was Hassall's fifth and last cap. Eddie McMorran equalised for the Irish nine minutes after half-time, and they were the superior side for long periods. Stanley Matthews turned the game England's way with a typical mazy run on the hour before passing to Billy Wright, who set up a simple second goal for Hassall. It was Nat Lofthouse who wrapped up victory for England fifteen minutes later when he headed in a Jimmy Mullen cross, colliding with goalkeeper Smyth as he powered the ball into the net. Lofthouse limped off and Smyth was carried off with a broken nose. West Bromwich right-back Stan Rickaby played in his one and only England match in place of the injured Alf Ramsey.

    The Top Twelve UK Music Chart by New Musical Express

On Friday, 15 November 1952, The New Musical Express published the first ever singles chart in the UK. However, less than a year later, when England beat Ireland, David Whitfield's version of Answer Me was the best selling single. When the chart of Friday, 6 November 1953 was published, there were six surviving songs from the last chart when England played:-

1. (4) Answer Me - David Whitfield (Decca) 7. (5) Where The Winds Blow - Frankie Laine (Philips)
2. (3) Answer Me - Frankie Laine (Philips) 8. (=) Poppa Piccolino - Diana Decker (Colombia)
3. (1) Hey Joe - Frankie Laine (Philips) 9. (=) Swedish Rhapsody- Mantovani (Decca)
4. (2) Look At That Girl - Guy Mitchell (Philips) 10. (7) Kiss - Dean Martin (Capitol)
5. (6) I Believe - Frankie Laine (Philips) 11. Wish You Were Here - Eddie Fisher (HMV)
6. Chicka Boom - Guy Mitchell (Philips) 12. (re) Flirtation Waltz - Winifed Atwell (Decca)
♪Most weeks at number one when England played:
Frankie Laine four, Guy Mitchell two, Al Martino, Lita Roza and David Whitfield one each

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
John Treleven
officialcharts.com singles chart