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Saturday, 12 October, 2002, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Jordan's handiwork 25 years on
Scotland striker Joe Jordan
Even today, reliving the events of a cold and damp night on 12 October, 1977 will depress and infuriate Welsh football supporters.

It's twenty-five years since Wales faced Scotland in a 1978 World Cup qualifier, and yet a small piece of Joe Jordan's anatomy still gets under the skin.

Having already beaten group rivals Czechoslovakia 3-0 at Wrexham, a win over Scotland would have taken Wales within touching distance of qualifying for the finals in Argentina.

The Scots had already lost 2-0 in Prague, and so Mike Smith's men sensed their chance - even though the home match would be played on foreign soil.

Following crowd trouble in Cardiff during Wales' game with Yugoslavia the previous year, staging the game at Ninian Park was out of the question.


It was obvious that it was Jordan who handled the ball
Wales goalkeeper Dai Davies
In their infinite wisdom, the Football Association of Wales decided to stage the crucial match at Liverpool's Anfield home rather than in Wrexham in order to secure more money from a larger crowd.

And full house is exactly what they got - but unfortunately for the Welsh, the Tartan Army had travelled down in force.

So the scene was set for a what promised to be a memorable night in Welsh football history - and that is exactly what transpired.

Both sides had plenty of chances to score in a open and pulsating encounter, but the score remained goalless as match reached the closing stages.

But then, in the 78th minute came the fateful moment and Jordan's piece of handiwork.

The Scotland striker rose with Wales defender David Jones to challenge for Asa Hartford's long throw into the Welsh box, and then to the astonishment of the Welsh fans and players, French referee Robert Wurtz awarded a penalty.

Joe Jordan
Jordan kisses his fist after winning the penalty
Television replays clearly show it was Jordan's and not Jones' hand deliberately flicking the ball towards goal, but Mr Wurtz had made his decision.

Don Masson coolly slotted the penalty past Dai Davies, and with Kenny Dalglish adding a second goal ten minutes later, the Wales dream was over.

Unsurprisingly, Davies vividly remembers the whole sorry episode like it was yesterday.

"It was obvious that it was Jordan who handled the ball," he told BBC Sport Online.

"He was wearing a long sleeved shirt whereas Jones had short sleeves.

"I immediately ran towards the referee and lifted nine fingers to indicate that it was Jordan - their No 9 - who had touched the ball with his hand.

"After the match, we were all bitterly disappointed. Two years of hard work had been wasted because of one mistake by a referee."

Wales goalkeeper Dai Davies prepares for Don Masson's penalty
Dai Davies prepares for Don Masson's penalty
Before the game, Davies recalls the anticipating and the excitement which had gripped the players.

"Everyone in the Wales squad was talking about Argentina and Patagonia," said Davies.

"Rob Thomas and Terry Yorath were very keen on horse racing and had received an invitation to meet some horse racing people for Argentina - so there was plenty of looking forward."

The squad were staying in near-by Llangollen, and as the team bus travelled into Liverpool, everyone was amazed to see so many Scots on the streets.

"As we came onto the pitch, we had a massive shock as we saw blue everywhere," he added.

"We knew there would be a great deal of Scots coming down, but we were expecting to see more red in the stadium."


The Scottish fans were a bit hostile when Wales were attacking
Wales fan Dylan Llewelyn
Dylan Llewelyn, who was 11-years-old back in 1977, was equally amazed to be surrounded by Scottish rather than Welsh fans when he took his seat with his father in the stadium.

"Seeing all these Scottish fans drinking beer in the streets of Liverpool was a bit of a shock for an 11-year-old boy from Pen Llyn," he said.

"Our seats were for the front row of the Cemlyn Road stand and I was disappointed to see a lot of Scots around us. And as I looked towards the Kop, I could only see a small section of red.

"I remember the Scottish fans were a bit hostile when Wales were attacking - Alan Rough made a great save from Toshack which proved crucial.

"But once Scotland went ahead, their supporters wanted to hug us and shake our hands."

He claims that most of the fans - both Welsh and Scottish - were unaware of Jordan's handball.

"The incident was too far away for us to see from the stand," he added.

"But the following morning, everyone on the school yard had seen the television replays and we were absolutely furious."

To rub salt into the wound, Jordan to this day refuses to own up to his piece of trickery.

Famously, Diego Maradona claimed it was the 'hand of God' that intervened in the 1986 World Cup when he scored a dubious goal against England.

At least Jordan has made any such ludicrous statements; but even 25 years on, he still has little hope of finding any crumbs of forgiveness.


Wales: Dai Davies, Rod Thomas, Joey Jones, John Mahoney, David Jones, Leighton Phillips, Brian Flynn, Peter Anthony Sayer, Terry Yorath, John Toshack, Mickey Thomas.

Scotland: Alan Rough, Sandy Jardine, Willie Donachie, Don Masson, Gordon McQueen, Tommy Forsyth, Kenny Dalglish, Asa Hartford, Joe Jordan, Lou Macari, Willie Johnston.

Att: 50, 850.

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


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