REPORT | Ireland U21 2-2 England U20

REPORT | Ireland U21 2-2 England U20

A late Armstrong Oko-Flex goal earned Ireland a 2-2 draw against England U20s in Zagreb, Croatia this afternoon.

Ireland had led inside five minutes following a brilliantly worked goal that saw Joe Hodge fire past Jed Ward in the England goal.

But two England goals either side of the break made it an uphill challenge but after substitute Oko-Flex was felled inside the box he picked himself up to take the penalty, which was saved but he was on hand to net the rebound.

Ireland went into the game looking for a positive finish to their June window having overcome Croatia 3-2 on Friday.

And they took the lead early on, Tony Springett did well to win the ball and lay it off for Ollie O’Neill whose delicate touch set it perfect for Hodge to fire home his first Under-21s goal.

Ireland looked the brighter of the sides but the game was paused momentarily for a medical emergency in the stands.

The game continued and straight afterwards England had a great chance when Killian Cahill denied Dane Scarlett from close range.

Cahill was called into action again this time on hand to save from Sammy Braybrooke with another point-blank reaction save.

It became a game of counter attacks and Bosun Lawal stepped out of defence exchanged passes with debutant Connor O’Brien before firing a cross in front of goal that was cut out before Mark O’Mahony could pounce.

Martial Godo stung the finger tips of Cahill when he cut in and was allowed to fire at goal but with the half drawing to a close Archie Brown was able to break beyond the Irish backline and fire in the equaliser.

England would be ahead inside two minutes of the second half. Abu Kamara was brought down and Scarlett converted the spot-kick to make it 2-1.

After a raft of changes there was an excellent chance for Sinclair Armstrong. Andrew Moran collected the ball mid-air, drove at the fullback before playing across the face of goal but it just evaded the QPR striker.

Armstrong went close again, he burst into the penalty area and where most players would have gone down, he kept his feet fired at goal and drew a save from Ward.

With the game drawing to a close, Oko-Flex went through on goal and was adjudged to have been fouled. Oko-Flex picked himself up struck the pen and it was well saved by Ward but Oko-Flex reacted fastest to score his fourth Under-21s goal.

Ireland could well have won it when Connor O’Riordan found space at the back post but his header at goal was well held by Ward.

There was a late chance in the game when England were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area. Jobe Bellingham stepped up but his effort went over the bar and the game ended all square.

Speaking after the game, Ireland Under-21 Head Coach said: “For me, when we kept possession of the ball and got into key areas of the pitch, we caused them problems.

"I was just delighted for the likes of Mark O’Mahony making his first Under-21 start against that quality of opposition. Rocco Vata, Alex Murphy and Connor O’Brien played too, so we have some young players who can go again for the next campaign. It wasn’t like we had a year or two up on England’s Under-20s.

“Our objective coming to Croatia was to, first get everyone on the pitch. Nobody let their country down, absolutely nobody.”

Ireland: Cahill (Brooks 58); Lawal (Abankwah 85), Murphy (O’Riordan 77), O’Brien (Curtis 59); Roughan (Garcia MacNulty 46), Hodge (Noonan 77), Adeeko (Healy 58), O’Neill, (Armstrong 58) Springett (Oko-Flex 77); Vata (Moran 46); O’Mahony (Emakhu 58).

England: Ward, Fisher, Brown, Braybrooke, Hughes, Kamara, Scarlett, Baker-Boaitey, Hills, Godo, Matos: Substitutes: Simkin, Stetford, Cisse, Nelson, Bellingham, Dixon, Casey, Buck, Alves, Cadamarteri Esse, Chrisene

Referee: Ivan Vučkovic (Croatia)
 

Related News

View all
View all
FAI supports League of Ireland applications for Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Funding

FAI supports League of Ireland applications for Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Funding

PREVIEW | 2024 FAI Women's Amateur Cup

PREVIEW | 2024 FAI Women's Amateur Cup

Sports Direct Men's FAI Cup Third Round Draw confirmed

Sports Direct Men's FAI Cup Third Round Draw confirmed

Eadaoin Keane appointed as FAI Marketing and Communications Director

Eadaoin Keane appointed as FAI Marketing and Communications Director

Connell proud of Ireland WU19s for EUROs performances

Connell proud of Ireland WU19s for EUROs performances

REPORT | Ireland WU19 0-2 Netherlands WU19

REPORT | Ireland WU19 0-2 Netherlands WU19

PREVIEW | Ireland WU19 v Netherlands WU19

PREVIEW | Ireland WU19 v Netherlands WU19

Ireland WNT drawn with Georgia for EURO 2025 Qualifying Play-Off

Ireland WNT drawn with Georgia for EURO 2025 Qualifying Play-Off