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Saturday, 13 March 1886
Home International Championship 1885-86 (3rd) Match

Ireland 1 England 6 [1-2]

Ulster Cricket Ground, Ballynafeigh Park, Belfast, County Antrim
Kick-off (DMT): 'at twenty minutes to four'; 'at 3.45'

Attendance: 'about 4,000 spectators'; 'between 4,000 and 5,000 spectators'.
[an Irish attendance record]

Jack Hastings won the toss either George Shutt, Ben Spilsbury or Tinsley Lindley kicked-off
[1-0] Jimmy Williams 15
 'Condy headed to Williams, who, by a low, swift shot, drew first blood'

[1-1] Ben Spilsbury 'considerable time elapsed'
'equalised by a low swift shot'
[1-2] Ben Spilsbury 'a few minutes after'
'Leighton got possession and centred to Spilsbury'
  [1-3] Ben Spilsbury HAT-TRICK
[1-4] Fred Dewhurst

Tinsley Lindley

[1-6] Ben Spilsbury
second half goal times unknown.

Match Summary

Officials [umpires and referees are of equal relevance]


Team Records


Nicholas Lane Jackson
36 (1 November 1849), West Hackney, London (Corinthians FC)
(FA Hon. Secretary)
John Sinclair
30 (27 August 1855),
Belfast (Irish FA)
James E. McKillop
Scotland (SFA vice-President)

Ireland Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 4th


"...and the Irish blue jerseys".


Jack Hastings


Team chosen by Committee;
Ireland Lineup
  Gillespie, R. Shaw 18
49 days
23 January 1868 G

Hertford FC

2 11ᵍᵃ
  Watson, James nk not known RB

Ulster FC

4 0
  Devine, A. Oliver nk not known LB

Limavady FC

2 0
  Molyneux, Thomas B. 17/18 1868 RHB

Cliftonville FAC

9 1
  Crone, William 21/22 1864 CHB

Distillery FC

6 0
  Hastings, John 27/28 1858 LHB

Ulster FC

6 0
Williams, James R. nk not known OR

Ulster FC

2 1
  McClatchey, John nk not known IR

Distillery FC

2 0
  Johnston, Samuel J. 19
176 days
18 September 1866 CF

Distillery FC

4 1
  Condy, John 24/25 1861 IL

Distillery FC

2 0
  Turner, William S. nk not known OL

Cliftonville FAC

1 0


not known

team notes:

Tom Molyneux equals the record of most appearances with Alex Dill.
2-3-5 Gillespie -
Devines, Watson -
Molyneux, Crone, Hastings -
Williams, McClatchey, Johnston, Condy, Turner


Age tbc Appearances/Goals 3.6 0.2


England Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 2nd


"The English wore white" white or dark shorts, and dark socks


Percy Walters⁴
first W 1 - D 0 - L 0 - F 6 - A 1.


The Football Association Committee following trial games, with Secretary Charles W. Alcock having the primary influence, on Monday, 8 March 1886.
P 26 - W 11 - D 4 - L 11 - F 80 - A 56
first new captain for three years
There is a small possibility that Tinsley Lindley, debuting in this match, was the captain, making him the youngest ever.  At least four sources name Percy Walters including the team photo of the day, The Sportsman names George Shutt. The Northern Whig names Norman Bailey!
England Lineup
(a record-equalling high ten changes to the previous match)
  Rose, William C. 24
102 days
1 December 1861 G

Preston North End FC

4 3ᵍᵃ
first/second Northender to represent England
  Walters, Percy M. 22
164 days
30 September 1863 RB Old Carthusians AFC & Corinthians FC 3 0
125   Baugh, Richard 22
27 days
14 February 1864 LB

Stafford Road Railway Works FC

1 0
the only Stafford Roader to represent England
126   Shutt, George 24
85 days
18 December 1861 RHB

Stoke FC

1 0
the second Stoke player to represent England only app 1886
127   Squire, Ralph T. 22
184 days
10 September 1863 CHB

Cambridge University AFC, Old Westminsters AFC & Corinthians FC

1 0
128   Dobson, Charles F. 23
185 days
9 September 1862 LHB Notts County FC & Corinthians FC 1 0
the tenth County player to represent England only app 1886
129   Leighton, John E. 20
352 days
26 March 1865 OR

Nottingham Forest FC & Corinthians FC

1 0
the 6th/7th Forest player to represent England only app 1886
130 Dewhurst, Frederick 22
87 days
16 December 1863 IR

Preston North End FC & Corinthians FC

1 1
first/second Northender to represent England
131 Lindley, Tinsley 20
137 days
27 October 1865 CF

Nottingham Forest FC, Cambridge University AFC & Corinthians FC

1 1
youngest competitive scorer the 6th/7th Forest player to represent England

Spilsbury, Benjamin W. 21
224 days
1 August 1864 IL Cambridge University AFC, Derby County FC & Corinthians FC 2 5
sixth hattrick scored by England
132   Pike, Thelwell M. 19
116 days
17 November 1866 OL Brentwood FC, Cambridge University AFC, Old Malvernians FC & Corinthians FC 1 0
youngest player to represent England competitively - until 1888 only app 1886


not known

team notes:

Apparently Blackburn Rovers FC and Swifts FC players, including Jimmy Forrest and the Bambridge brothers, were not picked for this match as both teams were appearing in the FA Cup semi-final against each other.
Norman Bailey was also due to captain this match, but had to drop out, his was the only change from the original named team, he was replaced with George Shutt.
Had Bailey played, it would have been his record-breaking eighth consecutive match for England.
Also, had Bambridge not been playing in the FA Cup, he too would have played in his eighth consecutive match. As it is, Billy Mosforth's record remains unbroken.
Percy Walters' brother, Arthur, also played for England in 1885.
"the English players made the journey by 'bus from the Imperial Hotel".


England play seven new debutants for the first time since against Ireland in 1882.
They have now gone on a record unbeaten sequence of five matches, and as a consequence, they have returned to 50% success rate for the first time since 1874.
2-3-5 Rose -
Walters, Baugh -
Shutt, Squire, Dobson -
Leighton, Dewhurst, Lindley, Spilsbury, Pike


Age 22 years 52 days Appearances/Goals 1.5 0.1
youngest team so far least experienced since 1877
"In the evening the teams dined at the Imperial Hotel" - Belfast news-letter, Monday, 15 March 1886


Match Report - Manchester Courier, Monday, 15 March 1886 In Other News.....
In magnificent weather the international football match, England v. Ireland, took place on Saturday at Belfast. The attendance of spectators was larger than has been seen at any previous match, and the ground was in capital order. The English team arrived on Friday, and after a day's rest turned up in splendid condition. After having been photographed the teams took to the field at 3.40, and England having won the toss Shutt, of Stoke, who replaced Bailey, kicked off against the wind and hill. In about 15 minutes Williams took the first and only goal for Ireland. This was a complete surprise for all parties concerned, and immediately the visitors took up the offensive, the result being that by their magnificent passing, which was admired by all, two goals were secured by Spilsbury before half time. After the change of ends the Englishmen still had the best of the play, and although the Irish goal keeper did his very best to defend his position, the visitors would not be denied. Their splendid passing was everywhere loudly praised; indeed it must be said that it completely demoralised the home team. Several exceedingly brilliant attempts were made by the Irish forwards to retrieve their position, but it was all in vain. The Englishmen steadily added to their score, and when time was called the game stood six goals to one in favour of the visitors. Of these, Spilsbury obtained four, Dewhurst one, and Lindley one. Throughout the game it was easy to see that the Englishmen had the best of it, but the prevailing  feeling was that Ireland should have made a better stand, seeing that the team chosen was about the best that could have been picked. It is hardly necessary to state that Rose, as a goalkeeper, could not be excelled, and that the play of Shutt, Spilsbury, Lindley, and Dewhurst, was of a high-class character; while on the Irish side Gillespie, Watson, Johnson, Hastings, M'Clatchey, Molyneux, and Crone was all that the most fastidious could desire. The English team was certainly the strongest one, and it is no disgrace to the Irishmen that they have been again beaten so decisively on their own ground.

Blackburn Rovers defeated Swifts, 2-1, at Derby, in the F.A. Cup semi-final. Swifts' goal was netted by Charlie Bambridge, who had scored eleven times for England, including the equaliser against Scotland, the previous year. In the final, Blackburn were to complete a hat-trick of victories in the competition, the last occasion that the trophy has been won by the same club in three consecutive years.

The rugby union international between Scotland and England, delayed by a week because of heavy snow, ended scoreless in Edinburgh.

It was on 13 March 1886 that the Prime Minister, William Gladstone finally revealed his plans for an Irish parliament in Dublin. The Home Rule Bill, which followed, was to split the Liberal party and bring down the government, four months later.

Ireland suffered another reverse at the hands of the England eleven on Saturday at the grounds of the Ulster club at Belfast. There was a very large attendance of spectators. Successful in the toss, the home team chose the end which gave them the advantage of the wind. Lindley kicked off for England. Good passing between the English right wings having been checked by the home backs the play became even. Williams scored the first point of the game for Ireland, whose success was naturally greeted with loud applause. England speedily retaliated, and Spilsbury brought the score level, while shortly afterwards Dewhurst obtained a second goal for the visitors. Nothing further was registered before half-time. Positions having been exchanged the form of the England team improved. Indeed, throughout the second half of the game Ireland were continually acting on the defensive. Four times was the ball driven under their cross-bar, thrice by Spilsbury and once by Lindley. - The Times, Monday, 15 March 1886
Source Notes  
Jonny Dewart at Northern Ireland's Footballing Greats
Cris Freddi's England Football Factbook
The Football Association Yearbook
Original Newspaper Reports