International Friendlies
Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland3IsraelIsrael0

Northern Ireland 3-0 Israel: Davis, Dallas and Whyte score in friendly win

By Richard PetrieBBC Sport NI at Windsor Park
Stuart Dallas and Gavin Whyte scored in Northern Ireland's win over Israel
Stuart Dallas and Gavin Whyte scored in Northern Ireland's win over Israel

Substitute Gavin Whyte scored with his first touch in international football as Northern Ireland beat Israel 3-0 in Tuesday's friendly in Belfast.

Whyte, 22, who joined Oxford United in the summer from Irish League club Crusaders, scored 106 seconds after coming on to make his debut.

Earlier skipper Steven Davis and Stuart Dallas had given Michael O'Neill's side a 2-0 interval advantage.

On Saturday, NI lost 2-1 to Bosnia-Herzegovina in the new Nations League.

Northern Ireland's improved finishing

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill had called on his squad to be more clinical in front of goal after squandering a series of openings in that defeat, and they responded in style against an admittedly limited Israel team who are ranked 66 places below them in the Fifa standings.external-link

The hosts had found the net only three times in their previous seven outings, failing to score in five of those, but their new expansive style of play paid dividends in securing a confidence-boosting win.

Northern Ireland have now won four and drawn five of their 10 meetings with Israel and triumphed in six of their last seven home friendlies.

Israel had been unbeaten in their previous four matches against Northern Ireland, including a 2-0 win in the most recent meeting in a World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park in March 2013.

But this was a seventh defeat in eight games for Austrian Andi Herzog's fledgling side, who offered little by way of attacking threat.

Steven Davis gave Northern Ireland the lead in the 13th minute against Israel
Steven Davis gave Northern Ireland the lead in the 13th minute against Israel

Southampton midfielder Davis and Leeds winger Dallas have both struggled to secure regular football for their clubs this season, the former's only appearance so far coming in the EFL Cup.

But both players shone throughout this game, Davis firing home a sweetly struck first-time right-footed shot from a Paddy McNair corner, which went whistling past goalkeeper Guy Haimov in the 13th minute with the aid of a deflection.

George Saville then provided the pinpoint left-foot cross for the unmarked Dallas to score his third international goal at the back post with a side-footed volley.

In the second half Davis, now with 11 international goals, provided a neat flick to send Saville through on goal, but the Middlesbrough player skewed a left-foot shot wide.

Instant impact by sub Whyte

Whyte's sensational introduction to international football saw the debutant fire home in the 67th minute after the Israeli goalkeeper had denied fellow substitute Conor Washington, who missed two other chances.

Whyte is seeking to emulate fellow ex-Crusaders player Dallas in making a major impact in international football, having scored 21 goals in helping the Belfast side win the Irish Premiership title last season.

Gavin Whyte joined Oxford United from Irish Premiership champions Crusaders in July
Gavin Whyte joined Oxford United from Irish Premiership champions Crusaders in July

His outstanding form saw him named Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year by the Northern Ireland Football Writers and the winger has started his career for Oxford in style with three goals in six appearances.

Whyte was part of the squad which travelled to play Panama and Costa Rica in Central America in the summer, but did not play.

He was originally named in the Under-21 squad to face Luxembourg in a friendly on Thursday and Spain in a European qualifier on Tuesday, but was called up to the senior squad by O'Neill thanks to his impressive early season form.

Whyte's fellow Under-21 player Paul Smyth also scored as a substitute on his senior debut against South Korea in March.

Several push for regular places

Paddy McNair played well on his return to the Northern Ireland side
Middlesbrough's Paddy McNair played well on his return to the Northern Ireland side

O'Neill made five changes to his starting line-up for the friendly as he sought to experiment and offer players a chance to stake a claim for a regular place.

McNair, who missed much of the World Cup qualifying campaign with a cruciate ligament injury, performed well at right-back and was impressive with his set-piece deliveries.

Norwich's Jamal Lewis showed further promise at left-back, Jones can be happy with his display as he won his third cap, while Saville has now cemented his place as an integral part of the midfield.

Goalkeepers Trevor Carson and Michael McGovern were rarely threatened as they were given a half apiece while Saturday's goalscorer Grigg cut an often isolated figure up front.

What's next?

This was Northern Ireland's fifth game of 2018 as they continue the build-up to next year's Euro 2020 qualifiers, the draw for which takes place on 2 December, with the matches being played between March and November 2019.

Before that, O'Neill's men face a Nations League away double header against Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina in mid-October, followed by a friendly against the Republic of Ireland and their final Nations League game at home to Austria in November.

Israel lost 1-0 to Albania in their first Nations League Group C1 encounter on Friday and next face Scotland on Thursday 11 October, then Albania at home three days later.

Key stats

  • Northern Ireland have won six of their last seven friendlies at home.
  • They scored as many goals in this game as they managed in their previous seven combined in all competitions (three).
  • Northern Ireland's last 12 goals in all competitions at Windsor Park have been scored by different players - Ward, Washington, Boyce, Jonny Evans, Brunt, Magennis, an own goal, Smyth, Grigg, Davis, Dallas and Whyte.
  • Steven Davis' opener was his first international goal since a 3-0 away victory over San Marino last September in a World Cup qualifier.


Northern Ireland

Formation 4-3-3

  • 12CarsonSubstituted forMcGovernat 45'minutes
  • 17McNair
  • 20Cathcart
  • 5Evans
  • 3Lewis
  • 8Davis
  • 13EvansSubstituted forNorwoodat 45'minutes
  • 6SavilleSubstituted forSmithat 71'minutes
  • 14DallasSubstituted forFergusonat 77'minutes
  • 22GriggSubstituted forWashingtonat 65'minutes
  • 15JonesSubstituted forWhyteat 65'minutes


  • 1Peacock-Farrell
  • 2McLaughlin
  • 4Smith
  • 7McGinn
  • 9Washington
  • 10Lafferty
  • 11Ferguson
  • 16Norwood
  • 18Boyce
  • 19Ward
  • 21Whyte
  • 23McGovern


Formation 3-5-2

  • 18Haimov
  • 12Yeini
  • 21Tibi
  • 4HabashiBooked at 39minsSubstituted forKapilotoat 45'minutes
  • 2DasaSubstituted forBittonat 65'minutes
  • 15MichaSubstituted forTurgemanat 59'minutes
  • 6Natcho
  • 14Peretz
  • 13TawathaSubstituted forScheimannat 40'minutes
  • 9DabburSubstituted forGlazerat 75'minutes
  • 10HemedSubstituted forSabaat 59'minutes


  • 1Kannadli
  • 3Scheimann
  • 5Kapiloto
  • 8Plakushchenko
  • 11Einbinder
  • 17Turgeman
  • 19Saba
  • 20Glazer
  • 22Bitton
  • 23Amos
Bas Nijhuis

Match Stats

Home TeamNorthern IrelandAway TeamIsrael
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Northern Ireland 3, Israel 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Northern Ireland 3, Israel 0.

  3. Post update

    Dan Glazer (Israel) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland).

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Conor Washington (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Shane Ferguson with a headed pass.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Conor Washington (Northern Ireland) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Steven Davis with a cross.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Conor Washington (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Craig Cathcart (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Paddy McNair with a cross following a set piece situation.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Nissim Kapiloto (Israel).

  10. Post update

    Gavin Whyte (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Gavin Whyte (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Michael Smith with a headed pass.

  12. Post update

    Offside, Israel. Sheran Yeini tries a through ball, but Alon Turgeman is caught offside.

  13. Post update

    Nissim Kapiloto (Israel) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Gavin Whyte (Northern Ireland).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Dor Peretz (Israel) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Dan Glazer.

  16. Post update

    Hand ball by Alon Turgeman (Israel).

  17. Post update

    Foul by Dan Glazer (Israel).

  18. Post update

    Steven Davis (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Northern Ireland. Shane Ferguson replaces Stuart Dallas.

  20. Post update

    Sheran Yeini (Israel) wins a free kick in the defensive half.


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