Double Irish Joy for Lafferty
Northern Ireland comfortably beat Georgia 4-1 in a friendly match at Windsor Park last night with Clarets striker, Kyle Lafferty getting a brace of goals in the first-half before being substituted at the start of the second-half.
Lafferty put Northern Ireland 1-0 up in the 25th minute at the start of a 15 minute first half spell that saw Northern Ireland score three times.
David Healy was quick to take advantage of a Georgian blunder and tapped the ball forward to find Steven Davis, His perfect pass to Lafferty was side-footed into the net from 12 yards.
Healy made it 2-0 seven minutes later unleashing a shot which defected off AC Milan defender Kakha Kaladze and past keeper Georgi Makaridze. It was turning out to be a good night for Healy. UEFA president Michel Platini had presented Healy with a special award for scoring a record 13 goals during the Euro 2008 qualifiers. He had come close to scoring four times in the first 25 minutes, had assisted in the build up to the first goal, scored the second and was about to assist directly in the third goal.
Lafferty got in front of his marker to head home from an inch-perfect cross by Healy to score on 36 minutes and put Nigel Worthington`s men up 3-0 up.
Worthington made two half-time changes with Crewe's Michael O'Connor coming on for his debut in place of Damien Johnson and double goal scoring hero, Lafferty making way for Warren Feeney.
Healy then had a bit of bad luck to spoil his night a bit as Georgia pulled one back from a penalty. Debutant, O`Connor handled the ball after 55 minutes following a cross to concede the penalty. The penalty from Levan Tskitishvili's spot-kick was actually saved by the keeper but Taylor pushed the ball onto a post and Healy slid the ball into his own net trying to clear the rebound to record an own-goal.
A double substitution saw Linfield midfielder Michael Gault come on for his International debut with Thompson also coming on as Healy and Davis made way after 70 minutes.
Linfield forward Peter Thompson scored his first International goal from close-range just three minutes from time to make the final score 4-1.
It was a good night for Kyle Lafferty though despite being substituted at the start of the second half. His brace of goals also contributed to him winning the BBC Sport Player Rater Man of the Match Award.
In another International friendly last night, Graham Alexander found himself on the bench for Scotland`s game against Croatia for most of the match. He did come on for the final 10 minutes replacing Darren Fletcher as Scotland managed a 1-1 draw.