On this day England once played two matches on the same day.
On 15 March 1890, 120 years ago today, England played two official international matches on the same day and won them both. We beat Ireland 9-1 in Belfast and Wales 3-1 in Wrexham, both in the British Championship.
In their early meetings England would certainly rattle in the goals against the Irish. The first in the series, in Belfast in 1882, produced the 13-0 victory that remains England’s biggest in 138 years of international football.
The match in 1890 was watched by 5,000 fans inside Ballynafeigh Park and they saw England ease their way to a 3-0 advantage at half-time and finally run out 9-1 winners. The scorers were thought to have been Fred Geary (three), Bill Townley (two), Kenny Davenport (two), Joe Lofthouse and Jack Barton.
Geary, the hat-trick man, was making his debut at the age of 22. The Everton centre-forward may actually have netted four or five times that afternoon, with goals in those days often scored from ‘massed scrimmages’ and the identity of the last player to touch the ball not always known or reported.
Townley was 24 and making his second appearance. ‘The fastest man we ever witnessed dribbling a ball’ grabbed a hat-trick for Blackburn Rovers in The FA Cup Final of that year and probably added two to England’s tally against the Irish.
On the same day another England team won 3-1 in Wales. Edmund Currey, an Oxford University student, scored twice on his debut.