Jones, Whyte and McCann on target as Baraclough gets first win in friendly

You are viewing content from Q Mid Ulster 106. Would you like to make this your preferred location?
Ali McCann with the third goal on 55 minutes.

Q Radio Sport

Ian Baraclough recorded his first win as Northern Ireland manager inside 90 minutes as they eased to a 3-0 friendly win over Malta in Austria.

After Jordan Jones capitalised on a defensive mistake just two minutes in, quickfire second-half goals from Gavin Whyte and Ali McCann after the break effectively ended the game as a contest.

It was not always convincing against a side ranked 175th in the world and dealing with a host of problems coming into the game, but the experienced side chosen by Baraclough ultimately got the job done in a fixture hastily arranged after a planned trip to Turkey fell victim to the pandemic.

Baraclough had a number of fresh faces in his 22-strong squad for the game, but they were all made to wait on the bench as he picked a strong side including Stuart Dallas as captain, Craig Cathcart, Paddy McNair and Josh Magennis.

Meanwhile, Malta coach Devis Mangia had expressed concerns over the fitness of his squad, made up almost entirely of domestic-based players at a time when the Maltese Premier League has been suspended since March.

The tempo dropped as the substitutions began, with Accrington striker Dion Charles earning a second cap while there was a late debut for 17-year-old Liverpool defender Conor Bradley, who came on alongside Alfie McCalmont with five minutes remaining.

Baraclough will know that such a performance would not have sufficed had the Turkey match gone ahead, and more will be needed when they take on Euro 2020-bound Ukraine in Dnipro on Thursday.

But with the World Cup Qualifiers against Lithuania and Switzerland looming in September and after a long wait for both a victory and for goals - with this the first time they had more than one in a match during his tenure - Baraclough will surely draw plenty from the result.

More from Q Radio Local Sport

Join the Thank Q Club

Sign up for the Thank Q Club and receive exclusive offers, fun competitions and amazing prizes - it's quick and easy to do!

Sign Up Log In

Listen on the go

Download the Q Radio app to keep listening, wherever you are! It's available on Apple and Android devices.

Download from the App Store Download from Google Play