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Double delight for Conor Bradley in Northern Ireland win
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Ian Parker
Press Association
Conor Bradley scored both goals in Northern Ireland’s win (Jane Barlow/PA)
Conor Bradley scored both goals in Northern Ireland’s win (Jane Barlow/PA)

Conor Bradley fired Northern Ireland to a 2-0 friendly win over Andorra in Murcia.

Bradley registered his first senior brace with goals in the 16th and 23rd minutes, but Michael O’Neill’s men could not add to that lead despite clear chances for Callum Marshall and Jamal Lewis before half-time.

As expected, Northern Ireland bossed possession but the extra goals O’Neill would no doubt have hoped to see his men conjure against opposition ranked 91 places below them did not materialise after the break.

Nevertheless, the result seems Northern Ireland end their warm-weather training camp on a positive note after Saturday’s 5-1 defeat to Spain, and means they have won three of their last five matches as they look to the Nations League campaign later this year.

O’Neill made five changes to the side beaten in Mallorca with Corry Evans, Brodie Spencer, Ciaron Brown, Paul Smyth and Marshall coming in, but it remained a strong line-up with Bradley retained and Daniel Ballard taking over as captain.

Bradley’s first role was to create the opening chance, picking up the pieces when Andorra could not clear a corner and firing in a low cross which came to Marshall at the back post, but the teenager – making his first international start – saw his shot blocked.

The opening goal came when the roles were reversed. Marshall spun away from his man to find space down the left and fizzed in a low cross which Bradley, darting between Andorra’s centre-backs, met at the near post to poke beyond goalkeeper Iker Alvarez.

It was the fifth consecutive match in which Northern Ireland had opened the scoring – a run they had not achieved since 2017 – and seven minutes later the handful of Northern Ireland fans making themselves heard in an otherwise deserted Estadio Nueva Condomina were celebrating again.

Lewis’s cross took a deflection but Bradley was able to adjust to stoop and head home at the far post.

Bradley was running the show, continuously driving at Andorra who had little answer other than to trip the Liverpool man.

Marshall should have recorded his first international goal six minutes before the break. Spencer’s fine ball played in Jamie Reid down the right and his early cross found Marshall at the far post but the West Ham teenager could not get his finish right as it bobbled behind.

Lewis then went close to scoring his first international goal in first-half stoppage time, hitting a right-footed drive which Alvarez did well to push around the post.

Northern Ireland’s share of the ball only increased in the second half but the number of clear chances created went down as the usual flurry of substitutions began – among them a first international appearance since November 2020 for Ethan Galbraith and a debut for Aaron Donnelly.

Ross McCausland was also introduced and the Rangers man soon played in Bradley, who was guilty of eyeing his hat-trick as he shot from an angle with team-mates better placed.

After Bradley made way for Caolan Boyd-Munce with 15 minutes left, McCausland led Northern Ireland forward again but hesitated before trying to thread a difficult pass through to fellow substitute Dale Taylor, and Northern Ireland had to settle for two.


Northern IrelandAndorra
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