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266 vs. Wales

295 vs. France
3.45-4.40 England v France
5.0-6.0 For the Children 7.30 "Horse of the Year" show (Haringay) 8.20 Newsreel 8.35 How Do you View
Wednesday, 3 October 1951
Festival of Britain Celebration Match

England 2 France 2
postponed from 12 May 1951
Arsenal Stadium, Avenell Road, Highbury, Islington, County of London
Kick-off (BST): 3.00pm.

Attendance: '57,603'. Receipts: '£12,326';

Players lost since last match
Gordon Hodgson (14 June 1951) 47
Harry Wood (5 July) 83
Robert Topham (31 August) 83
England kicked-off
[1-0] Kader Firoud own goal 4
 'A firm cross pass by Tom Finney was unfortunately diverted' from 8 yards


Les Medley 32
 beat Vignal with a terrific right-footed drive from 7 yards from a Wilf Mannion pass

[1-0] Jean Baratte strike hits the crossbar
[1-1] Andre Doye 18
beat Williams with a volley from 6 yards after Pierre Flamion headed into his path
[1-2] René Alpsteg 19
right-footed strike from a tight angle from right side of area
second half live on the Radio Light Programme  - Commentators: Jimmy Jewell and Kenneth Wolstenholme
"Keep Four - Drop The Rest!" Charles Buchan-Daily News
Officials England FIFA ruling on substitutes France
Referee (black)
John Alexander Mowat
44/45 (1906), Rutherglen
flame flag              Linesmen              yellow flag
A. Murdoch
Leon Boes
England Team
Rank No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 4th
Colours The 1949 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, black socks with white tops.
P 19th of 43, W 12 - D 2 - L 5 - F 55 - A 30.
Captain Billy Wright
Manager Walter Winterbottom, 38 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
³ 21st of 90, W 14 - D 1 - L 6 - F 54 - A 27. P 39thof 139, W 27 - D 5 - L 7 - F 123 - A 46.
  first draw under a Wright captaincy Team chosen by Selection Committee headed by Arthur Drewry, on Monday, 22 September.
England Lineup
  five changes to the previous match (Eckersley, Nicholson, Taylor, Pearson & Metcalfe out) league position (22 September)  
  Williams, Bert F. 31
245 days
31 January 1920 G Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (FL 8th) 17 23ᵍᵃ
2 Ramsey, Alfred E. 31
254 days
22 January 1920 RB Tottenham Hotspur FC (FL 4th) 15 0
707 3 Willis, Arthur 31
243 days
2 February 1920 LB Tottenham Hotspur FC (FL 4th) 1 0
the 21st Hotspur player to represent England only app 1951
4 Wright, William A. 27
239 days
6 February 1924 RHB Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (FL 8th) 36 3
5 Chilton, Allenby 33
17 days
16 September 1918 CHB Manchester United FC (FL 3rd) 2 0
final app 1950-51
6 Cockburn, Henry 30
19 days
14 September 1921 LHB Manchester United FC (FL 10th) 13 0
final app 1946-51
Finney, Thomas 29
181 days
5 April 1922 OR Preston North End FC (FL 7th) 33 20
Mannion, Wilfred J. 33
140 days
16 May 1918 IR Middlesbrough FC (FL 13th) 26 11
final app 1946-51
9 Milburn, John E.T. 27
145 days
11 May 1924 CF Newcastle United FC (FL 10th) 12 10
10 Hassall, Harold W. 22
213 days
4 March 1929 IL Huddersfield Town AFC (FL 15th) 4 2
Medley, Leslie D. 31
30 days
3 September 1920 OL Tottenham Hotspur FC (FL 4th) 3 1
unused substitutes: Ted Ditchburn (Tottenham Hotspur FC (FL 4th)), Jimmy Dickinson (Portsmouth FC (FL 9th)) and Doug Lishman (Arsenal FC (FL 5th)).
2-3-5 Williams -
Ramsey, Willis -
Wright, Chilton, Cockburn -
Finney, Mannion, Milburn, Hassall, Medley.
Averages: Age 29 years 358 days Appearances/Goals 14.7 5.1
France Team
Rank No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 25th
Colours Blue collared jerseys, white shorts, red socks.
Captain Jean Baratte Selection Selection Committee
on Monday, 22 September 1951.
Trainer: Pierre Pibarot
France Lineup
  Vignal, René 24
52 days
12 August 1926 G RC de Paris 7 20ᵍᵃ
2 Grillon, André 29
336 days
1 November 1921 RB Olympique lyonnais 13 0
3 Salva, Marcel 26
2 days
1 October 1922
in Algeria
LB RC de Paris 10 0
4 Firoud, Abdelkader 31
12 days
11 October 1919
in Algeria
RHB Nîmes Olympique 1 0
the 18th own goal scored for England
5 Jonquet, Robert 26
153 days
3 May 1925 CHB Stade de Reims 9 0
6 Bonifaci, Antoine 20
29 days
4 September 1931 LHB OGC Nice Côte d'Azur 4 1
Alpsteg, René 30
304 days
3 December 1920 OR AS de Saint-Étienne Loire 8 3
8 Baratte, Jean 28
118 days
7 June 1923 IR Lille Olympique SC 25 18
9 Grumellon, Jean 28
275 days
1 January 1923 CF Stade rennais UC 7 2
Flamion, Pierre 26
294 days
13 December 1924 IL Olympique lyonnais 11 6
Doye, André 27
18 days
15 September 1924 OL FC des Girondins de Bordeaux 4 3
unused substitutes: Marcel Domingo (OGC Nice Côte d'Azur), Guy Huguet (AS de Saint-Étienne Loire) and Roger Boury (CO Roubaix-Tourcoing).
team notes: Firoud and Bonifaci exchanged wings and Grumellon replaced Andre Strappe (Lille).
2-3-5 Vignal -
Grillon, Salva -
Firoud, Jonquet, Bonifaci -
Alpsteg, Baratte, Grumellon, Flamion, Doye.
Averages: Age 27 years 244 days Appearances/Goals 9.0 2.8
              Match Report by Mike Payne

This results defied all the odds as France gained a draw that they deserved but never expected. England gave a very indifferent display and would quickly want to forget this match. At least they managed to retain  their proud unbeaten record against continental teams but they were lucky to come away with a draw and could easily have lost.

The success France obtained was built largely on a defensive display and they won few friends amongst the crowd with their tactics.

England had an excellent start, scoring in the fourth minute. A firm cross pass by Tom Finney was unfortunately diverted beyond his own goalkeeper by Firoud. Then they should have had a second when Harold Hassall was put clear by Henry Cockburn's throw-in. Vignal did well to save Hassall's shot but a square pass to the unmarked Jackie Milburn would probably have brought a more positive result.

In the next 20 minutes, France hit back hard, Inspired by Doye, their best player, they hit the crossbar with a cracker from Baratte. The warning was there for England and shortly afterwards France turned the game around with two goals in two minutes.

First Allenby Chilton, who struggled throughout, failed to clear a corner taken by Alpsteg and Doye was on hand to shoot home from close range. Almost at once Doye, with some clever footwork and a quick pass, sent Arthur Willis and Cockburn the wrong way and left Alpsteg with a clear chance. He shot from an acute angle and the ball flew into the England net with the aid of a deflection. England were stunned and watched as Grumellon and Alpsteg tested Bert Williams. But gradually they began to fight back. Billy Wright's long pass sent Milburn away only for the centre-forward's shot to go just wide.

Just before half-time England equalised. A fine move involving Alf Ramsey and Wilf Mannion ended with Les Medley cutting through at inside-right to score.

That was the end of the scoring and the second half was one of England battling against a well organised and uncompromising  French defence without any success. There was one other dramatic moment in the half and it almost brought that record to an end. Sloppy work by Willis and Cockburn gave Grumellon the chance to gain possession and speed off towards goal unchallenged. Williams came out and, although he went to his left, he somehow managed to reach back to his right and parry his shot.

              Match Report by Norman Giller

Les Medley's first goal for England and an own goal saved a mediocre England team from a first home defeat by a foreign side. France were robbed of a deserved victory when Bert Williams made a desperate late save from French centre-forward Jacques Grumellon, who gave centre-half Allenby Chilton a nightmare afternoon. Arthur Willis, partnering his Spurs team-mate Alf Ramsey, was one of four players - along with Chilton, Henry Cockburn and Wilf Mannion - who never played for England again. It was a scrappy team performance and England's problems continued in the middle of the defence. France could count themselves unlucky not to have won by a convincing margin, and it was Wolves goalkeeper Bert Williams who saved England from defeat with a succession of Swift-standard saves.

              Match Report as appears in the F.A. Yearbook 1952-53, page 24

Though England's form in the opening matches was disappointing, there are many reasons to loo back at the 1951-52 International season with satisfaction. England came through undefeated in eight matches, many of which tested her severely, and shared the home Championship with gallant little Wales. Of many lessons learned, mention should be made of the value of close liaison with the Football League, the need to fit each selection to the character of the opposition, and yet at the same time preserve as much continuity as possible and to give outstanding players a fair chance to become accustomed to the strain of International engagements.

The International season opened on October 3rd at Highbury with the match against France. For both teams this was to some extent in the nature of a trial match. The French, after a run of failures in the previous season, had made a number of changes, and the England team, with many of her best players then showing mixed form, took the field with a new cap in Willis at left-back, Chilton returned to centre-half, and Mannion, recovered from his facial operation, at inside-right to Finney.
The game ended 2-2, and for the French this was a triumph, England could only conclude that, although her record of being unbeaten at home remained intact, her side played decidedly below International form. Nevertheless, many seriously underrated the French team, particularly as a month later at Paris they also forced Austria to a 2-2 draw.
England was given a lucky lead just after the opening, when the French half-back, Firoud, unhappily put the ball past his own goalkeeper. The French were undismayed, and following some neat manœuvres, Doye, the left-winger, equalised with a fast shot following a corner. Hardly a minute later Alpsteg, the other winger, had put the visitors one up.
The French forged ahead, but gradually England recovered from the shock and before half-time had again been drawn level when Medley completed a brilliant move by Ramsey and Mannion.
During nearly the whole of the second half the French stayed on the defensive. They only gained 2 corner-kicks to England's 10, but the English forward line was mostly ragged, uninspired, and unable to break through. Indeed, during the dying moments France nearly won when a sudden break-away by Grumellon, the centre-forward, was only just saved in a desperate effort by Williams.

                 In Other News....
It was on 3 October 1951 that hopes faded for the four men missing following a gas explosion, two days earlier, at the Weetslade Colliery, near Newcastle upon Tyne. A fifth body had already been found, but it would take almost two months to recover the other bodies.
              Source Notes

Original newspaper reports
  Rothman's Yearbooks
Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record

Norman Giller, Football Author
Drew Herbertson, Scottish FA historian
British Pathé