Shayne Lavery scored for the second game in succession to secure a fine 2-1 victory for Northern Ireland’s U21s against Mexico’s U22s.
Falkirk striker Lavery, who is on loan from Everton, popped up with the winner in the 87th minute of the challenge match staged in Spain.
The game against the Mexicans, played at the Estadio Municipal de Marbella last night, was arranged as part of a week-long training camp for the U21s at Estepona on the Costa Del Sol.
The camp also included a game against Bulgaria’s U21s – and Lavery also scored the winner in that game, which was staged last Friday. It ended 1-0.
U21s manager Ian Baraclough made several changes to the starting line-up for the game against Mexico. Manchester United midfielder Ethan Galbraith and Leeds United midfielder Alfie McCalmont both made their first starts for the U21s.
Northern Ireland started brightly, however Mexico took the lead on 18 minutes when Pablo Lopez steered the ball past Northern Ireland keeper Declan Dunne.
Baraclough’s side levelled on 55 minutes when Chris Gallagher set up striker David Parkhouse and he rifled the ball home.
The Mexicans were rattled by the goal and on 71 minutes they were reduced to 10 men.
Lavery, who came off the subs bench, then pounced in the 87th minute to give Northern Ireland the win. Cameron Palmer slipped the ball through to the striker and he produced a neat curler which nestled in the back of the net.
There was still time for a further red card, however. Another Mexican got his marching orders deep into added time.
The victory over the Mexicans was the sixth win on the trot for Baraclough’s side.
The training camp was stage one of preparations for the 2021 U21 Euros qualifying campaign. It gets under way with a game against Malta in September and Ian Baraclough’s side will also face Denmark, Romania, Ukraine and Finland in Qualifying Group 8.
You can watch the goals from Parkhouse and Lavery in the video at the top of the page.
01 Declan Dunne, 02 Eoin Toal, 03 Robert Burns, 13 Kofi Balmer, 15 Nathan Kerr, 06 Jake Dunwoody, 07 Alfie McCalmont, 10 Ethan Galbraith, 11 Coalan Boyd-Munce, 18 Chris Gallagher, 19 David Parkhouse
SUBS: 12 Jared Thompson, 08 Kyle McClean, 09 Shayne Lavery, 05 Pierce Bird, 16 Cameron Palmer, 20 Josh Kelly, 04 Daniel Amos, 14 Daniel Finlayson, 17 Lewis McCann