Landmark goal for Fleetwood defender McLaughlin

McLaughlin (centre) is congratulated by his Northern Ireland team-mates
McLaughlin (centre) is congratulated by his Northern Ireland team-mates
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Fleetwood Town full-back Conor McLaughlin is celebrating his first international goal.

The right-back scored Northern Ireland’s third in last night’s 4-0 victory over Azerbaijan in their World Cup qualifiier in Belfast.

McLaughlin powered home a 66th-minute header on his 22nd senior appearance for his country.

He played the full 90 minutes at Windsor Park as two goals in each half left the Irish second in their qualifying group, behind Germany.

It was McLaughlin’s second goal of the season, following his winner for Town at Chesterfield last month.

In his absence for Fleetwood at Port Vale today, Victor Nirennold and new signing Godswill Ekpolo are vying for the right-back spot.

McLaughlin will remain with the national squad for Tuesday’s friendly at home to Croatia, meaning he also misses Town’s FA Cup replay with Southport at Highbury that night.