NORTHERN Ireland’s U21 were brushed aside in convincing manner as England ran out 2-0 winners at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool last night.
It took England 45 minutes to find the back of the net though with Connor Wickham heading home first half injury time to break the deadlock.
Benik Afobe’s penalty doubled their lead midway through the second half as England ran out comfortable winners.
Josh Magennis wasted Northern Ireland’s only chance of the game just before Wickham opened the scoring but in truth it wasn’t the night a good night for Stephen Robinson’s men.
The scoreline will most definitely flatter Northern Ireland but not their goalkeeper Conor Devlin who was in inspirational form.
His only error a foul on Afobe presenting the Bolton youngster with the chance to double the lead from the penalty spot.
Northern Ireland’s chance came just before the opening goal but Josh Magennis and Paddy McLaughlin conspired to waste on their only foray into the England penalty box.
England were in full control of the game from start to finish with Conor Wickham the thorn.
It was testament to Devlin’s performance that it took England 45 minutes to find a way past him. When they did, it was Wickham with the final touch. Jordan Henderson delivered the free-kick and Wickham pounced to head home at the near post.
It took an rare error from Devlin to let England double their lead. He brought down Benik Afobe in the area and the Arsenal youngster coolly slotted home the resulting spot kick.
ENGLAND: Amos (Steele 45); Smith (Clyne 61), Robinson (Moore 84), Wisdom (Maguire 61), Lees; Ince (Waghorn 77), Townsend (Afobe 61), Henderson © (Chalobah 77), McEachran (Hughes 66); Wickham, Powell
NORTHERN IRELAND: Devlin (Glendinning 77); Hodson (C McLaughlin 45), McKeown (Donnelly 85), Thompson (Hegarty 77), Flanagan (McEleney 45); Clucas (Morgan 67), Winchester (Gorman 61), Lund, P McLaughlin ©, Carson; Magennis (McAlinden 77).