Wales 1-1 England (partially found footage of international football match; 1951)

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Programme for the match.

Status: Partially Found

On 20th October 1951, Wales hosted England for a British Home Championship match. Occurring in front of 51,500 at the Ninian Park, the encounter ended in a 1-1 draw, meaning Wales avoided a defeat against the visitors for the first time since the Second World War. It also marked one of the earliest instances of a football match being televised from Wales.


Heading into the match, Wales and England had yet to play a game for the 1951/52 British Home Championship.[1] Both were seeking a win after Scotland defeated Ireland 3-0 on 6th October.[1] The visitors were deemed the favourites, as Wales' last win against the Three Lions was on 22nd October 1938, which was also the last time they avoided defeat against them.[2][3] Following a 2-2 draw with France on 3rd October, England made six changes, including calling up Thomas Thompson and Malcom Barrass for the first time.[4][5][6][3] By contrast, Wales opted for a strong defence with only two forwards, with the FA Yearbook 1952-53 remarking that the formation reflected the passion Welsh teams had in performing competitively against foreign opposition at Ninian Park.[4][6]

The encounter's second half received live television coverage from the BBC, with commentary provided by Jimmy Jewell.[7] Its broadcast was seemingly last minute, as Issue 1,457 of Radio Times merely lists its timeslot for 20th October as "To Be Announced".[8][9] It was notable for being one of the first matches to ever be televised from Wales.[7] Notably, this occurred prior to the BBC opening its Wenvoe transmitter in Glamorganshire for Welsh and West of England viewers on 15th August 1952.[10] This meant that the majority in Wales could not view the television coverage, although some areas of the country were able to unofficially access the Sutton Coldfield transmitter which had been operating since 17th December 1949.[10]

The Match

The match itself occurred on 20th October, with 51,500 in-attendance at the Ninian Park.[11][6] Wales received a free kick after three minutes following a Malcolm Barass foul. Roy Paul took it, where it was received and converted into a goal by William Foulkes.[3][4][5][6][11] It was notably Foulkes' first ever shot for Wales.[5] However, the home side quickly equalised when Tom Finney passed towards Les Medley, who in turn fired the ball into the path of Eddie Baily, Baily achieving a header in the middle of the box for 1-1.[3][4][5][6][11] For the remainder of the first half, few attacks were made, with Wales primarily controlling proceedings thanks to a stronger midfield, England being criticised for lacking cohesion.[4][3]

Near the end, Wales missed two opportunities to gain the victory; Trevor Ford narrowly missed two strong crosses by Foulkes, which most certainly could have turned the tide in Wales' favour.[3][4][5] Ultimately, the game ended 1-1, Wales finally ending its post-Second World War losing streak against England, although some reporters felt the team were unfortunate not to win.[3][4][5][6][11][2] England were criticised for a below-average performance, primarily due to its uninspired forwards.[4][3] Wales would later defeat Scotland 1-0 on 14th November and Ireland 3-0 on 19th March 1952.[1] Meanwhile, England beat Ireland 2-0, and overcame Scotland 2-1 on 5th April, meaning both nations shared the 1951/52 British Home Championship after accumulating five points each.[1]


The BBC broadcast was televised live during an era where the Corporation seldom made telerecordings until the perfection of video tape in the late-1950s.[12][13] While it did achieve a partial telerecording of the England-Italy game on 30th November 1949, it is the only known football broadcast featuring Jewell's commentary with surviving footage.[12] Thus, the BBC coverage of the Wales-England match is most likely permanently missing. Nevertheless, some surviving newsreels provide highlights of the game.



British Pathé newsreel of the match.

Reuters newsreel of the match.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 RSSSF detailing the 1951/52 British Home Championships results and table. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  2. 2.0 2.1 11 vs 11 detailing the encounters between Wales and England. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record providing a detailed match report (report found on England Football Online). Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 FA Yearbook 1952-53 detailing the match and the changes England and Wales made heading into it. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Norman Giller summarising the match (report found on England Football Online). Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 England Football Online detailing the result, statistics, and line-ups, as well as noting the match was televised by the BBC. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  7. 7.0 7.1 England Football Online detailing the BBC's coverage of England games from 1950 to 1955. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  8. BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues noting the match broadcast had yet to be confirmed by the time the issue was published. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  9. Issue 1,457 of Radio Times noting the match broadcast was not yet confirmed prior to publication. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  10. 10.0 10.1 A History of Independent Television in Wales noting that the BBC opened its first transmitter for Welsh viewers on 15th August 1952, but that some could view television via the Sutton Coldfield transmitter. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11 vs 11 detailing the result of the match and other statistics. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  12. 12.0 12.1 BBC Genome Blog noting how almost all football broadcasts featuring Jewell's commentary were never recorded. Retrieved 6th Dec '22
  13. Web Archive article discussing how most early television is missing due to the lack of directly recording television. Retrieved 6th Dec '22