WALES 1 ENGLAND 2 – Welsh FA Centenary Match – The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham – 24th March 1976

Four months after failing to qualify for the 1976 European Championship, Don Revie and England turned their minds to the next international cycle and the task of qualifying for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. The draw which had taken place the day after their disappointing draw in Portugal which dashed their hopes of European glory had matched the Three Lions with Finland, Luxembourg and most dangerously Italy. Before the qualification campaign began in earnest there was a commitment to take on familiar opposition as the Welsh FA celebrated its centenary with a fixture in Wrexham.

With the domestic season coming to a climax, there were a number of call offs from the original squad named by Revie. Already fond of experimentation, his line up for this match would see an unprecedented eight debutants, including substitute Peter Taylor of 3rd Division Crystal Palace who had impressed in the Eagles FA Cup run.

Revie had cone back to his old club to call up Trevor Cherry, but it was the side who were going for the Football League title who would be plundered the most. Phil Neal, Phil Thompson and Ray Kennedy joined Ray Clemence and skipper Kevin Keegan in the team to face the Welsh, with new caps also going to Mike Doyle of Manchester City and Phil Boyer of Norwich City who would win his only cap. Dave Clement came off the bench with Taylor at half time to complete the octet.

The match was shown on ITV’s Midweek Match with Brian Moore in the commentary box. Ray Kennedy handed England the lead on 71 minutes before fellow debutant Peter Taylor completed his fairytale rise to prominence with England’s decisive 2nd goal six minutes from time. Alan Curtis grabbed a late consolation for the Welsh, for whom this was a warm up for their upcoming European Championship Quarter Final against Yugoslavia.

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