Cymru 4-1 England

For this 'Greatest Game' edition of FC Cymru we profile ten former Cymru managers and a match that defined each tenure. Next Mike England talks us through a famous win over England during this recent interview with Sgorio.

Cymru 4-1 England – 17 May 1980 – The Racecourse, Wrexham

Cymru XI: Davies (GK), J.Jones, Price, Flynn, Nicholas, Thomas, James, Walsh, Yorath (c), Giles, D.Jones (Pontin 46).

Goals: Thomas (20), Walsh (30), James (61), Thompson (67 og).

“It was an incredible day,” explained England as he reflected on the match with Sgorio's Dylan Ebenezer on the 40th anniversary of the victory last year. “I'd just flown in from Seattle and I'd got the job and I was so thrilled. The first game against England at Wrexham, and to beat England 4-1 - what a start! The whole of Wales was rejoicing. It was a great game, everyone enjoyed it so much. They all said 'what did you do after the game?' and I said 'well, you won't believe this'. Doug Livermore (assistant manager) and myself, we got a Chinese take away and went back to my Mum and Dad's in Prestatyn. He slept on a mat in front of the fire and I was in the little bedroom. People can't believe that, but what a day.”

England actually took the lead through Paul Mariner after 16 minutes, but would eventually suffer their first defeat at the hands of Cymru since 1955. The visitors simply couldn't handle the pace and intensity of Cymru as the sun shone at the Racecourse, with goals from Mickey Thomas and Ian Walsh putting the home side ahead before half-time. Leighton James added the third goal on the hour, and an own goal from Phil Thompson summed up a miserable afternoon for England as Cymru claimed one of the most famous victories in their international history.

“It's a day we'll never ever forget as it was just so wonderful,” England added. “They took an early lead, and then of course to come back and eventually win 4-1 that was like a dream come true. I couldn't have got off to a better start and it's a day you'll always remember. You remember certain days in your career and that is certainly one. We had Mickey Thomas and Leighton James, we had players that had a lot of pace – they were very quick.

“I remember we talked about the game and the one thing we had to do was stop England playing. So whenever England got the ball we closed them down quickly. That's what we tried to do, and it worked. England couldn't get themselves started, it worked fantastically. We had players with energy like Mickey Thomas, Brian Flynn was great and Peter Nicholas. You look back and think 'wow' what a job they did, they did exactly what we talked about. It was a great win – what a start.” 

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