England played their first match of the 1900s on St Patrick's Day.
England’s first match of the 1900s was played on this day 110 years ago. They went to play Ireland in Dublin on 17 March 1900 in a rich vein of form, having won their previous six internationals with a goal tally of 28-6.
England had the air of an unbeatable side at the end of the 19th century, although they only played against the other British countries in those days. From March 1898 they beat Ireland 3-2, Wales 3-0, Scotland 3-1, Ireland 13-2 (yes, thirteen), Wales 4-0 and Scotland 2-1.
There was an 8,000 crowd in Dublin’s Lansdowne Road ground to see if England could keep that great run going. The visitors lined up with Jack Robinson (Southampton), William Oakley (Corinthians), James Crabtree (Aston Villa), Harry Johnson (Sheffield United), Johnny Holt (Reading), Ernie Needham (Sheffield United), Arthur Turner (Southampton), Daniel Cunliffe (Portsmouth),GO Smith (Corinthians), Charlie Sagar (Bury) and Fred Priest (Sheffield United).
It finished 2-0 to England, Johnson and Sagar scoring after 22 and 26 minutes respectively. William Harrison Johnson, known as ‘Harry’, was a half-back making his England debut at the age of 24. It turned out to be his only England goal in six appearances. Similarly, inside-left Charlie Sagar was making his debut and didn’t score again.
England’s next two fixtures in the British Championship were more problematic. They were ahead in three minutes in Wales nine days later but had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Then Scotland beat them 4-1 at Celtic Park.