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