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Saturday Stepback: 1951

Though it could never come close to replicating the authentic matchday experience, today we’re kicking off a new weekly series transporting us back to a game played on this day in yesteryear.

With the help of the Club’s Heritage Development Officer, Paul Treanor, every Saturday during football’s downtime, will revisit a match from the past via the medium of contemporary newspaper reports – starting with an incredible North Belfast Derby against Crusaders on March 21, 1951.

Crusaders share points with Cliftonville

The ground at Seaview was extremely heavy for this League match, but there were several periods of sustained excitement and the football was often more clever than might have been expected in the circumstances.

In the 10 minutes before half time, both sides scored twice. In the eighth minute after the interval, each side added a goal and, in the last three minutes, both scored again, leaving the result a 4-4 draw.

The teams were evenly matched but for 15 minutes in the second half, Cliftonville were well on top and seemed to have the game in hand. They missed two goals – chiefly by bad luck – in this period, however, and lost the initiative.

McGarry, at centre forward, was their most dangerous attacker and Hegarty was sound at left-back. The all-round play of their backs and halves was good and their long, swinging clearances were a constant menace to Crusaders.

For Crusaders, Neill had a good game at right-back and Dunwoody was an enterprising right-half, Bradford took his chances at centre forward and was particularly good with the ball in the air.

Reid scored first for Cliftonville, when the home defence was out of position, but a minute later R Simpson headed past Calow to equalise.

Bradford then put Crusaders ahead but Weir scored for Cliftonville just on half-time. Second half goals were scored for Crusaders by Brady and Coffey, and McGarry scored twice for Cliftonville.