Playing in early afternoon heat of 93 degrees at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Nigel Worthington’s team, featuring five debutants in the starting line-up, kept a lively Turkish side at bay for the first 45 minutes without launching an attack themselves.
New Turkey manager Guus Hiddink, who had seen his side beat the Czech Republic 2-1 last Saturday in New Jersey, changed his midfield personnel at half-time, withdrawing Bayern Munich’s Hamit Altintop following his Champions League final exertions at the weekend in Madrid and bringing in Sercan Yildirim of Bursaspor, while Mehmet Topal replaced Nuri Sahin.
The move immediately paid dividends as Turkey went in front with a goal three minutes after the break as substitute Sercan slid the ball beyond Linfield goalkeeper Alan Blayney.
Blayney had been one of four Irish League players handed a first cap with club-mates Robert Garrett and Jamie Mulgrew as well as Portadown’s Kevin Braniff.
The fifth new cap went to teenage winger Johnny Gorman of Wolves, aged 17 years 212 days, who had been given permission by Repton School to delay his A level Physical Education exam from this Friday until January.
Gorman, due back at school next Wednesday with an A level English literature exam to sit two days later, was having a different education in New Britain, the only bad mark coming in the 20th minute when he picked up a yellow card from American referee Terry Vaughn.
Hiddink, with a much larger squad at his disposal, was able to swap like for like in terms of experience and Northern Ireland spent long periods without the ball.
Their first attempt on goal did not come until the 54th minute when Rangers full-back Andrew Little hooked a shot onto the roof of the Turkey net.
Turkish dominance continued, however, with another sub, Semih Senturk, finding the net in 72nd minute, slotting home from just inside the area as Worthington’s defence was unable to clear its lines.
Worthington introduced more new blood by bringing in Josh Magennis, Michael Bryan, James Lawrie, Rory McArdle and Colin Coates, all of whom were sent on in the last 20 minutes.
The fresh legs allowed Northern Ireland to regroup and regain the shape they had kept so well in the first half.
The new-look side stood firm in the face of a series of further Turkish attacks while at the other end Watford winger Bryan quickly made a good impression, beating two Turkish defenders before turning towards the opposition goal, his shot saved comfortably by Onur Recep Kivrak.
Northern Ireland were set to leave Connecticut immediately after the game for a 5,000-mile flight to Chile, whose World Cup-bound side they will face in Chillan on Sunday night, while Turkey move on to Philadelphia where they will provide the opposition for the USA as they bid farewell to their fans at Lincoln Financial Field before heading to the World Cup in South Africa.