Thursday, 27 March 2008

Little to learn from stroll at the Park.

Northern Ireland eased to a comfortable 4-1 victory against Georgia last night after an anaemic encounter at Windsor Park. The first half saw the bulk of the action with strikers Lafferty and Healy showing real quality, sharing three goals between them. Lafferty’s contribution was especially impressive. He delivered a hard-working, energetic display capped off by two goals, one a neat slotted finish and the second a fine headed goal. The young forward has pace and skill as well as the height to impose himself in the air.

Healy’s goalscoring haul in the European Championship campaign was marked by a presentation by UEFA president Michel Platini prior to the match. Northern Ireland’s talisman had a mixed night though. A long range effort in the first half gave Healy his 34th goal in a Northern Ireland shirt, but in the second half his attempt to clear Georgia’s penalty kick saw the Fulham player score the first own goal of his international career.

Other notable contributors were Steven Davis, lively in midfield and finding the freedom to roam forward with Damien Johnson sitting deeper beside him, and Keith Gillespie, who produced an agelessly vigorous performance on the right flank.

The second half was a dreary 45 minutes though with much of Northern Ireland’s adventure negated by substitutions. Georgia had a considerable amount of possession and would have had the better of the half had a dubious goal not been bundled into his own net by a Georgian defender. Some sources have credited this goal to Peter Thompson who was engaged in attempting to obstruct the goalkeeper when the ball may have glanced off him.

Georgia were diabolical opposition and this friendly will do little to clarify the confused tactics of manager Nigel Worthington. The squad he picked for the friendly was far from the best available to him and he managed to debilitate the team in the second half with needless tinkering. 3 nil up in a friendly this experimentation would have been understandable if it had involved credible personnel, but the players Worthington should have been investigating were not in the squad.


beano said...

"Peter Thompson who was engaged in attempting to obstruct the goalkeeper and whom the ball may have glanced off. "

Match of the Day and Sky Sports notched it up to an O.G. but on the telly it looks like it went in off the hand of one "Cheater" Thompson.

Chekov said...

The goal is being hailed as a triumph by bluemen of Irish League Forums. Which is exactly why I would rather the referee had blown his whistle and given a free kick last night. Instead for the sake of a worthless goal we will have an intensified campaign to have the team stacked with Linfield players.