England U21s cruise to victory

England produced a dominant display as they brushed aside Northern Ireland 2-0 in their U21 international friendly in Blackpool.

Last Updated: 13/11/12 at 21:44 Post Comment

Connor Wickham heads England ahead against Northern Ireland

Connor Wickham heads England ahead against Northern Ireland

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Connor Wickham gave England the lead just before half-time and Benik Afobe made sure of victory with a penalty 13 minutes from time after he had been brought down by visiting keeper Conor Devlin.

The scoreline may not suggest it, but Stuart Pearce's side were impressive bar some of their finishing, while Cliftonville keeper Devlin did well to keep England's forwards at bay on more than a couple of occasions.

His first action was a fine reflex save to keep out Manchester United starlet Nick Powell's close-range header, and he did well to push a dipping effort by Andros Townsend away from goal.

Wickham came up short on two further occasions, hitting the bar with one opening, and Devlin denied Bloomfield Road favourite Thomas Ince before the deadlock was finally broken in first-half injury time.

Ince was fouled 25 yards out and Jordan Henderson chipped over an inviting ball that Wickham powerfully headed past a helpless Devlin, a brave effort considering he had just returned to the fray after being treated for a wound above his eye.

The one-way nature of the encounter continued after the break with Powell playing in Ince, but the Blackpool winger fired just over the bar, and later he was inches off target after beating three men on a mazy run.

The second goal finally came in the 77th minute when Afobe romped clear and was brought down by the luckless Devlin, who just failed to get a hand on the Bolton loanee's spot-kick.

There was barely any work for home keepers Ben Amos and Jason Steele throughout the 90 minutes, although Josh Carson did head a chance wide of Steele's goal in the final seconds with the visitors' best opening.

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Footer 365

England striker Harry Kane is confident he can handle the weight of expectation upon him

England striker Harry Kane is confident he can handle the weight of expectation upon him.

Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck out for 'a period of months'

Arsenal have confirmed that striker Danny Welbeck will be sidelined for "a period of months" after undergoing surgery on his injured knee.

Manchester United brand David De Gea reports as 'rubbish'

Manchester United have rubbished reports that David De Gea could be frozen out of the side if he refuses to sign a new contract at Old Trafford.

Mail Box

Van Gaal Shouldn't Be Micro-Managed

Trust him to do his job, says one Mailboxer. Also: Aren't Man City short for strikers? And more on weird transfer rumours, with a staunch defence of Arsene Wenger...

Wenger Is Turning Gooners Off Arsenal...

One Gooner is so fed up, he's chucking in his support. Also in the Mailbox: United and Liverpool squads compared, Januzaj, and the transfer window as a night on the pull...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company