Wednesday 21 August 2019

Resolute Norway hold King's new-look Ireland U-21s

Ireland U-21 0-0 Norway U2-1

Republic of Ireland Under-21s coach Noel King saw his side draw 0-0 with Norway
Republic of Ireland Under-21s coach Noel King saw his side draw 0-0 with Norway

John Fallon

Ireland's U-21s completed 2015 with a stalemate against a powerful Norway side at the Waterford RSC last night

Just four days after their European qualification ambitions took a hit with defeat in Lithuania, manager Noel King handed debuts to League of Ireland duo Kevin O'Connor and Brandon Miele, as well as Birmingham City's Noe Baba, in this friendly.

Both sides had their chances to win the contest, with Conor Wilkinson and Sean Kavanagh coming closest for the Irish.

Harry Charsley, making his first start at this level, was Ireland's bright spark in the first half.

After firing wide on nine minutes, he had the ball in the net five minutes later only for the effort to be ruled out for offside in a tight call.

Norway showed their threat on 20 minutes when Eric Grimes spilled Alexander Sorloth's shot but Iver Fossum smashed the rebound over from six yards.

Having survived that scare, the Irish rallied to create the best opening of the first half. Fulham winger Kavanagh, who was sent-off in Vilnius last Friday, unleashed a crisp 25-yard shot on the half-hour which Per-Kristian Bratveit tipped around the post.

The pressure from the Boys in Green continued straight after the break.

From Alan Browne's inviting cross, Wilkinson rose highest six yards out to connect with a header that Bratveit turned over.

Rosenborg attacker Alexander Sorloth remained Norway's attacking outlet, nodding wide on 55 minutes as the visitors took a foothold but failed to make the most of it.

IRELAND: E Grimes (Leeds Utd); S Hoare (St Patrick's Ath), D Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), L Desmond (St Patrick's Ath), S Griffin (Reading); A Browne (Preston NE), K O'Connor (Cork City); D Connolly (Ipswich Town), H Charsley (Everton), S Kavanagh (Fulham); C Wilkinson (Barnsley). Subs: I Lawlor (Manchester City) for Grimes (46 mins), N Baba (Birmingham City) for O'Connor, B Miele (Shamrock Rovers) for Connolly (83 mins), S Maguire (Dundalk) for Browne (87 mins).

NORWAY: P Kristian Bratveit; K Haraldseid, J Gronner, T Groggard, I Fossum; A Trondsen, F Aursnes; E Hestad, A Sorloth, U Yttergard-Jenssen; P Strand

Referee: B Markham-Jones (Wales)

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