Blackpool's Shayne Lavery earns 10th Northern Ireland cap as Fleetwood Town prospect makes international debut

Fleetwood Town’s highly-rated prospect Paddy Lane made his Northern Ireland senior debut in a narrow friendly defeat to Hungary.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Read More
Blackpool's Shayne Lavery in action for Northern Ireland against Hungary - live ...

The winger, who has been a breakout star for Stephen Crainey’s side this season, made his international bow in front of his home fans at a packed Windsor Park.

Unfortunately Northern Ireland couldn’t record a win to truly make it a night to remember for the 21-year-old, but he performed well and certainly didn’t look out of place.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Elsewhere, Blackpool’s Shayne Lavery had to settle for a spot on the bench having played over an hour during last week’s 3-1 win against Luxembourg - but he did come on midway through the second-half.

Former Seasiders Craig Cathcart and Dan Ballard started in defence, while Jordan Thompson and Dion Charles joined Lavery in coming off the bench.

Oxford United’s Gavin Whyte, the man who replaced Lavery in the starting line-up, wasted a good early chance, losing his footing at just the wrong moment as space opened up for him 18 yards from goal.

Only the woodwork stopped the hosts from going in front when skipper Steven Davis, on his 134th cap, struck the outside of the post with an exquisite effort with the outside of his left foot.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Fleetwood's Paddy Lane made his senior debut for Northern IrelandFleetwood's Paddy Lane made his senior debut for Northern Ireland
Fleetwood's Paddy Lane made his senior debut for Northern Ireland

At the other end, Ballard received a rapturous round of applause from the home fans after thwarting a dangerous counter with a lovely piece of defensive work.

Barking instructions from the touchline was Blackpool’s former head of recruitment Tommy Johnson, who now works as Ian Baraclough’s assistant having left the Seasiders in July of last year.

The Blackpool connections continued as Cathcart was shown a yellow card for a crunching challenge on Loic Nego, which he could have few complaints about.

The visitors offered very little in the first-half, but they did threaten when they worked a good opening for Roland Sallai, whose low drive was well saved by Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The better chances were coming for the hosts though, who came close again on the stroke of half-time when Niall McGinn was denied by a flying save after Josh Magennis and Whyte had linked up well.

Baraclough opted to bring Dion Charles off the bench at the interval, rather than Lavery, and the former Pool youngster was straight into the action, rushing through on goal before appearing to be hauled down by the last man - only for the referee to ignore the appeals.

Lane almost made it a debut to remember when a left-wing cross almost inadvertently sailed over the head of the goalkeeper, only to settle on the roof of the netting instead.

Unfortunately for Northern Ireland all of their good work was undone when Hungary capitalised on a poor backpass from Niall McGinn, which ended with Sallai rounding the keeper and slotting home into the empty net.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Five minutes after the deadlock was broken, Lane’s evening came to an end as he was replaced by Ballard’s Millwall teammate George Saville.

The change was soon followed by the introduction of Lavery, who was given just over 20 minutes to grab himself a second international goal. Former Seasider Jordan Thompson also entered the fray.

Within 60 seconds Lavery was closing down Hungarian defenders and forcing them into hurried clearances.

Fellow substitute Stuart Dallas almost gifted Hungary a second goal with a misplaced pass, but fortunately Cathcart saved the day with a last-ditch block.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Northern Ireland grew increasingly desperate in the final stages, Ballard appealing for a late penalty in hope more than expectation - but the referee wasn’t interested.

Lavery almost brought his side back on level terms eight minutes from time when he got across his marker with a trademark near-post run to glance a header just wide of goal.

Baraclough’s side, who deserved at least a draw at the bare minimum, squandered another two presentable chances in the dying minutes.

First, Saville’s close-range header was superbly kept out by the keeper before debutant Trai Hume forced another stellar save from the man in-between the sticks from Lavery’s cross.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 23-year-old was involved yet again in the dying seconds of stoppage time, as he saw a close-range effort charged down before Charles was denied by the keeper on the rebound - which proved to be the final action of the night.

Elsewhere on international duty, Kenny Dougall was an unused substitute for the second game on the spin as Australia finished their qualifying group with a 1-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia.

The Socceroos now face a play-off against the United Arab Emirates and, should they win that, they will then have to get past the side that finishes fifth in the South American group to reach this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.