International Friendly Report: Andorra 1 - 4 Republic of Ireland

IMG-20210604-185427-342 Troy Parrott of Republic of Ireland in action against Marc Vales of Andorra during the International friendly match between Andorra and Republic of Ireland at Estadi Nacional in Andorra.

Troy Parrott helped save the Republic of Ireland from near humiliation in Andorra – with his brace helping the Boys in Green to a 4-1 victory after an early second-half scare.

The win was the first time Ireland scored four goals since a 2016 friendly at home to Oman – and also proved to be Stephen Kenny’s first win as senior Irish manager.

Andorra did in fact take the lead early on in the second-half, but Parrott’s brace and goals from Jason Knight and Daryl Horgan helped Ireland to an eventual 4-1 win.

The Republic of Ireland went into the game without a win in their previous 12 games, their worst winless run since 1971 – and the former Dundalk boss went with an experimental starting XI, with starts for Troy Parrott, Ronan Curtis and Gavin Bazunu 

But despite the fresh blood brought into the starting XI, the Republic of Ireland endured a wretched start to the game – and were unable to fire a shot on target in the entire first-half.

And in truth, it took until the half-hour mark for Kenny’s side to start motoring – with Josh Cullen’s shot from the edge of the penalty area that went over the bar sparking them into life.

After a sustained spell of pressure, that saw the midfield trio of Conor Hourihane, Josh Cullen and Jason Knight all involved – James Collins headed inexplicably wide.

The now former Luton Town forward got on the end of Knight’s superb ball into the six-yard box – although Collins could only head wide with a dismal effort that skewed wide of goal.

Ireland continued their good play at the end of the first-half, with Ronan Curtis then curling his long-range effort over the bar as the Boys in Green stared the down the barrel of yet another humiliating result.

And that humiliating prospect of a poor result against the 158th ranked side in the world looked closer to a reality as the Boys in Green fell behind in the 52nd minute.

Marc Vales found himself free with acres of space in the Irish penalty area, before then heading over Bazunu and into the net.

Alex Martinez’s ball found the head of the 31-year-old who made mistake with potentially one of the easiest goals he may ever score in his footballing career.

But parity was restored just five minutes later as Tory Parrott shot into the bottom corner of the Andorran net in the 57th minute.

The Tottenham Hotspur prospect danced around the hosts defence before shooting across the face of goal and into the bottom corner of Iker’s net.

And Kenny’s side looked to have grabbed a second from their next attack – but Curtis shot wide at the back post when it looked easier to score than miss.

The former Derry City winger was found by Parrott who squared the ball to his attacking partner – but he could not convert.

However, Ireland’s lead was not far away – as Parrott headed home in the 61st minute.

The 19-year-old Dubliner got on the end of Hourihane’s cross into the box and saw his headed creep over the line thanks to some poor Andorran goalkeeping.

Knight then made sure of the victory in the 84th minute as he slotted home after being found by a superb ball from substitute Daryl Horgan.

And Horgan then went from provider to goalscorer as he turned home Knight’s cross with a diving header as Ireland ran out 4-1 winners.

The result will come as a timely boost to Kenny and his side who had to remain patient to break down a stubborn Andorra away from home as they get set to take on Hungary on Tuesday evening in Budapest.

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