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Ross Redman

NI draw opening Victory Shield game

The Northern Ireland Under 16 team began their defence of the Victory Shield with a 1-1 draw against Wales at Wrexham.

Gerard Lytle’s boys got off to a flying start as Conor Scannell carved open the home defence and sent over a perfect cross to Jamie Donley whose header went inches past the post.

On 13 minutes the visitors deservedly went in front when Donley was brought down inside the box. The striker got up to plant the spot kick into the corner of the net.

Oliver Lamb and Scannell were causing problems for the Welsh defence.  In a good move down the right Lamb and Scannell combined well to create an opening for Jacson Coppack but his shot was well held by the goalkeeper.

Two minutes before the break Donley went close to doubling the lead but his powerful header was brilliantly turned onto the bar by Welsh keeper Tyler Evans and the ball was scrambled away.

Wales drew level within two minutes of the restart when substitute Joel Cotterill sent a 20 yard free kick just inside the post giving Alex Henderson no chance..

On the hour Wales missed a great opportunity as a four man breakaway bore down on Henderson but centre back Michael Forbes got back to avert the danger.  Three minutes later Kian Jenkins went even closer but his shot from the edge of the box came off the upright with Henderson well beaten.

In the closing stages both sides pushed hard for the winner as play flowed from end to end.  Conor Falls tested Evans with a powerful drive and Shea Brennan shot straight at the keeper from 15 yards but the best chance fell to Welsh substitute Morgan Williams in the final minute when he broke clear but dragged his shot wide of the upright.

On Wednesday morning Northern Ireland will face Scotland who trounced the Republic of Ireland 4-0 to top the table.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND

Alex Henderson, Brodie Spencer,Matthew Carson,Michael Forbes,Josh Roney, Aidan Lillis,Conor Scannell, Harry Wilson (c), Jamie Donley,Jacson Coppack

Oliver Lamb

 

SUBSTITUTIONS

Conor Falls replaced Lamb 52 minutes

Ethan Sousa replaced Wilson 72 minutes

Ruairi McConville replaced Lillis 79 minutes

Shea Brennan replaced Donley 79 minutes

U16's defeat Poland in International Friendly

Northern Ireland U16 team defeats Poland

The Northern Ireland Under 16 team recorded the first win over Poland at this level since 2003 when two goals from Jonny Evans secured a 2-1 win.  Gerard Lyttle's boys maintained their unbeaten run this season and they did it the hard way by coming from behind to defeat a strong Polish side by the same scoreline at Shamrock Park.

The home team began strongly with Connor Scannell and Conor Falls causing problems down the flanks. Despite the strong pressure from Northern Ireland in the early stages it was the visitors who opened the scoring against the run of play after 18 minutes. Mateusz Lipp met a corner on the right with a strong header which was blocked on the line by Michael Forbes but the rebound came back to the tall defender who volleyed home from close range.

Soon afterwards Conor Falls did well to hold off a challenge from two defenders but Polish keeper Oliwier Zych got down well to his left to keep out his low drive.

On 28 minutes Jake Wallace made a great run down the right but his cross was just too high for the inrushing Scannell.

Poland were always dangerous on the counterattack and Kacper Duda pounced upon slackness in the home defence but dragged his shot wide with only the keeper to beat.

Northern Ireland made a sensational start to the second half and drew level inside the first minute as Polish centre back Radosław Seweryś deflected a low cross into his own net.  Five minutes later Northern Ireland took the lead.  A free kick from the left by Matthew Carson was headed back across goal by Michael Forbes and Jamie Donley was quick to react, forcing the ball in from six yards.

Poland responded well to this reverse and launched a series of attacks. Northern Ireland keeper Alex Henderson was in constant action producing an excellent save to keep out a fierce drive by Iwo Kaczmarski.  In the closing stages Poland pressed strongly in search of an equaliser but found it difficult to break down a staunch defence in which Forbes and substitute Aidan Lillis stood out.

The teams meet again  at The Oval on Wednesday night, kick off 7.00 pm and Northern Ireland will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten record this season before they set off next week to defend the Victory Shield in Wrexham against Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

Northern Ireland

Alex Henderson, Jake Wallace, Matthew Carson, Michael Forbes, Josh Roney, Harry Wilson, Brodie Spencer, Jamie McDonnell (C), Jamie Donley, Conor Scannell, Conor Falls

 

Substitutes

Charlie Lindsay replaced Spencer (45 minutes)

Jacson Coppack replaced Falls (45 minutes)

Callam Marshall replaced McDonnell (65 minutes)

Aidan Lillis replaced Roney (65 minutes)

Lewis Tosh replaced Donley (72 minutes)

Northern Ireland’s U16s hit five against Estonia’s

Northern Ireland’s U16s hit five against Estonia’s U16s in their second challenge match of the week against the Estonians.

 After registering a comfortable 2-0 win in game one the U16s followed it up with a fine display and a 5-2 victory in an entertaining game at Stangmore Park in Dungannon.

 Gerard Lyttle’s team got off to a great start with Charlie Lindsay netting from 10 yards with only four minutes on the clock. 

Northern Ireland then went close several times before Bobby Deane doubled the lead on 20 minutes, tapping in from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

On the half-hour mark Andreas Vaher was narrowly off target as the visitors came more into the game.  

Estonian centre forward Romet Kaupmees was a constant threat and was rewarded for his hard work in the 36thminute. He took advantage of slackness in the Northern Ireland defence when he intercepted a poor back pass to drill the ball home.

Shortly after the interval Lindsay restored the two-goal advantage with another fine strike. And then on 58 minutes Estonian centre back Ants Virkus put through his own goal under pressure from Conor Scannell.

Estonian striker Nikita Kondratski showed a fine turn of speed on 67 minutes to outpace two Northern Ireland defenders and slot the ball just inside the post, giving substitute keeper Matthew Williamson no chance. 

However, just a minute later Northern Ireland captain Michael Forbes met a corner from the right to power a header into the roof of the net to leave the final score at 5-2.

The Northern Ireland U16 Schoolboys will travel to Finland next month for two challenge games and will then play Poland at home on Monday 14 October and Wednesday 16 October in preparation for the defence of the Victory Shield in Wales at the end of October.

Northern Ireland U16s:Billy McDowell (replaced by Matthew Williamson 52’), Jake Wallace, Bobby Deane (Callan Devlin 40’), Michael Forbes (captain), Josh Roney (Ruairi McConville 40’), Harry Wilson (Ethan Sousa 57’), Conor Scannell, Jamie McDonnell (Lewis Tosh 40’), Brodie Spencer (Cameron Crook 57’), Charlie Lindsay, Elliott Wood (Conor Falls 57’).

Main image: Northern Ireland's Bobby Deane celebrates scoring against Estonia during Wednesday nights Under 16 Invitational International at Stangmore Park, Dungannon. Photo: William Cherry/Presseye

NI U16 start campaign with win

Northern Ireland’s U16s registered a comfortable 2-0 victory against Estonia’s U16s in the first of two challenge matches against the Estonians this week.

Gerard Lyttle’s team began strongly in the game at Knockbreda, with Charlie Lindsay in particular causing problems for the visitors with his pace down the right wing.  

Estonian keeper Kaupo Kruusmäe initially kept the U16 Schoolboys at bay, producing good saves to deny Harry Wilson and Jamie McDonnell. 

But his resistance crumbled on 27 minutes as Lindsay carved open the Estonian defence and his low cross was tapped in by Brodie Spencer from close range to put Northern Ireland one up.

Seven minutes later Northern Ireland captain Jamie McDonnell doubled the lead with a wonderful strike. The talented midfielder picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and fired an unstoppable shot past Kruusmäe into the roof of the net.

On the stroke of half-time Estonia missed a great chance to reduce the deficit when Gregor Lehtmets was brought down inside the box. The striker took the spot kick himself but Billy McDowell produced a great save low to his left to keep the ball out.

After the break Northern Ireland continued to press but it was Estonia who came closest to scoring when Romet Kaupmees broke through but his shot was cleared off the line by Michael Forbes.

In the closing stages Kruusmäe produced another outstanding save to keep out a fierce drive from Elliott Wood.

The two games against Estonia are kick-starting preparations for the Victory Shield in November when the Northern Ireland U16 Schoolboys will be looking to retain the trophy.

The teams meet again at Stangmore Park in Dungannon tomorrow (21 August). Kick-off time is 7 pm.

Northern Ireland U16s: Billy McDowell, Jake Wallace, Bobby Deane (replaced by Lewis Tosh 52’), Michael Forbes, Josh Roney (Ruairi McConville 61’), Harry Wilson, Conor Scannell (Elliott Wood 52’), Jamie McDonnell (captain), Brodie Spencer, Charlie Lindsay (Ethan Sousa 61’), Cameron Crook (Callan Devlin 52’).

Substitutes: (not used) Matthew Williamson, Callum Marshall.

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