ENGLAND 0 NORTHERN IRELAND 1 – 1972 Home International Championships – Wembley Stadium – 23/05/72

Another Black Day in English Football History - Picture from Amazon

The second round of fixtures took place the following midweek with this game first up on the Tuesday night. The only coverage shown were highlights on BBC with Barry Davies again commentating. Finding any footage has been extremely difficult, and I have only been able to find a 19 second clip, showing the only goal of another miserable night for England.

Sir Alf Ramsey decided that this game was ripe for experimentation, particularly in light of the fact that the Irish had lost to Scotland on Saturday and hadn’t beaten England since 1957. First caps were awarded to Colin Todd and Tony Currie, Peter Shilton replaced Gordon Banks in goal, Bobby Moore was rested with Norman Hunter dropping into the back four and Larry Lloyd replacing Macfarland.

In midfield, Sir Alf loosened his grip a little, retaining Storey but drafting in Summerbee to fill the gap vacated by Hunter. Macdonald and Marsh retained their places up front. The starting line-up was the first not to contain a World Cup Winner since that glorious day six years earlier.

The only goal of the game was a scrappy effort, Neill getting on the end of a corner, and despite not connecting properly with his header, bundling the ball in at the second attempt.

The result was a disaster for England, a second consecutive home defeat and further heaped pressure on to the shoulders of Sir Alf Ramsey.  In the other game Scotland beat Wales 1-0 the following night to go to the top of the table. Many Scottish eyes were elsewhere though that night. That’s a story for another post.

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