Northern Ireland U18s leave it late for 2-1 win over Jersey U21s

N. Ireland U18s defend a corner against Jersey U21s
Northern Ireland's youngsters visit the Channel Island's annually as part of the build up to the Centenary Shield

Two late goals enabled Northern Ireland Under-18s to come from behind and beat Jersey Under-21s at Springfield.

The hosts went in front through Harry Cardwell's close-range effort after half an hour.

But Northern Ireland created plenty of late chances, with Fra Nolan's superb strike pulling them level after he had gone close on two previous occasions.

Substitute Daniel Reynolds fired in the winner for the visitors with less than five minutes remaining.

"I thought at 1-1 we would see the game out," home boss Martin Cassidy told BBC Radio Jersey.

"I'm just disappointed for the players, they put so much in and deserved a draw at least.

"We gave them a game plan to stick to and they delivered it perfectly."

The Northern Irish squad, who visit the Channel Islands annually as part of their preparations for the Centenary Shield tournament, had found themselves behind when Cardwell stabbed the ball into the roof of the net.

Jersey's Evan Nobes then had an effort well saved by Declan Dunne, while at the other end Ryan Strain's deflected strike was comfortably held by Euan van der Vliet.

After the break Max Thompson fired over the bar at the end of neat Jersey counter-attack, but it was Northern Ireland who dominated as the half wore on.

Nolan's curling shot went wide, then he volleyed over from 10 yards out, before eventually finding his range in style to fire home the equaliser with just under quarter-of-an-hour to go.

The chances kept coming for the visitors, with Reynolds amongst those to squander opportunities before he smashed in the winner with time ticking away.

"It was a fantastic exercise for us," said Northern Ireland boss Frank Wilson.

"It gives us a chance to get four days with our boys to try and make them into a team because the Centenary Shield is fast approaching.

"Tonight was a very difficult game, we were very frustrated - we had the lion's share of possession but Jersey had done their homework on us."

The game came just 48 hours after the same Northern Ireland squad were 3-1 winners over Jersey's Under-18s.

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