Republic of Ireland ease past US

Date published: Thursday 1st January 1970 12:00

Republic of Ireland ease past US

Brady produced a deft 55th-minute finish and then dispatched a late free-kick to cement a clear victory on a night when he shared the headlines with debutant David McGoldrick.
Goals from Anthony Pilkington and Brady either side of half-time eclipsed Mix Diskerud’s equaliser, but McGoldrick’s contribution on his first appearance for his country captured the imagination as the Republic brought their 2014 fixtures to a positive conclusion.
He was involved in the first two goals in a team performance which went some of the way towards easing the disappointment of Friday’s 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat in Scotland.
Ireland were in front with seven minutes played when McGoldrick announced his arrival on the international stage with a telling assist.
The Ipswich striker, a beneficiary of the so-called “granny rule”, played in Pilkington with a superbly-weighted pass and looked on as the Cardiff midfielder applied an assured finish to claim his first senior international goal.
Daryl Murphy was denied a second goal by keeper Bill Hamid’s instinctive save, but Ireland found themselves playing on the break for much of the first half and finally succumbed when Diskerud levelled with 39 minutes gone.
Goalkeeper Shay Given, winning his 127th cap, was grateful for the assistance of both the post and the crossbar as Fabian Johnson and then Jozy Altidore came close to beating him before the half-time whistle sounded.
Given had to be at his best to keep out an Altidore piledriver five minutes into the second half, but it was the Republic who made the breakthrough once again when Brady made the most of more good work by McGoldrick to fire them back in front.
Substitute James McClean extended the home side’s advantage with eight minutes remaining, but Brady capped a good night with the best goal of the game as time ran down.
Manager Martin O’Neill had hinted he would use the depth of his squad having already confirmed Derby full-back Cyrus Christie and McGoldrick would be handed debuts, but in the event, he replaced the entire XI which started in Glasgow with Hull midfielder David Meyler wearing the armband.
Opposite number Jurgen Klinsmann, who had earlier released DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, DeAndre Yedlin and Lee Nguyen ahead of vital MLS play-offs fixtures, retained only four of the men who started the 2-1 friendly defeat by Colombia four days earlier.
The home side, understandably in the circumstances, had something of a makeshift look about it with Brady lining up at the back, but it was they who took the lead with just seven minutes gone with McGoldrick at the heart of the action.
The striker exchanged passes with Meyler on halfway and then repeated the feat with Pilkington, who ran on to his inviting through-ball before delicately lifting it over the advancing Hamid with the outside of his right foot and into the empty net.
Klinsmann’s side might have been level within two minutes had Christie not hacked Diskerud’s steered shot away, and it was they who made much of the running as the half progressed with Alex Pearce managing to block a 20th-minute Altidore header before full-back Johnson clipped the outside of the post with a speculative long-range effort.
But despite their relative lack of possession, Ireland managed to pose a threat and could have doubled their advantage when Murphy’s 27th-minute flick-on was returned with interest by McGoldrick, only for Hamid to block his rising strike at point-blank range.
Pearce headed the resulting Brady corner over the bar with O’Neill’s men starting to get to grips with the game.
However, they were pegged back with six minutes of the half remaining when Chris Wondolowski headed down Altidore’s cross to Diskerud, who gleefully stabbed home to level. And the Americans would have led at the break had Altidore’s 42nd-minute shot from the lively Alejandro Bedoya’s pull-back flown under, rather than crashed against, the bar.
The Sunderland striker provided the threat once again within five minutes of the restart when, after being picked out in acres of space on the right, he unleashed a fizzing drive which Given somehow managed to block with his legs after appearing to be wrong-footed initially.
But Ireland responded and after Murphy had come close to restoring their lead, Brady did, combining with McGoldrick before beating Hamid from close range to make it 2-1.
O’Neill introduced wingers Aiden McGeady and McClean as he looked to finish the game in style, but it took Given’s intervention once again, this time with his studs, to keep out substitute Bobby Wood’s shot after he had slipped through the cover.
The home side gained some breathing space when McClean’s 82nd-minute shot was deflected past the unfortunate Hamid by defender Geoff Cameron after fellow substitute Shane Long had been denied a fine solo effort by the post, and Brady put the icing on the cake with a delicious free-kick three minutes from time.

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