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U21s Ease To Win Over N. Ireland

Posted: Wed 14 Nov 2012
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England's Youngsters Beat Northern Ireland at Bloomfield Road

Goals from Connor Wickham and Benik Afobe secured Stuart Pearce's England Under 21s a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland Under 21s at Bloomfield Road last night.

Thomas Ince played 76 minutes before being replaced by Martyn Waghorn to a standing ovation from the 8,040 strong Blackpool crowd.

The 20-year-old was a constant threat throughout the game and tormented Northern Ireland on both flanks, but still goes in search of his first international goal.

Ince's best chance came midway through the second period when he cut inside off the right-hand touchline, taking on three players before firing straight at keeper Conor Devlin from close range.

His other good chance was through his own making again; this time running from the half-way line down the left and then unleashing a low drive from the corner of the penalty area, which Devlin palmed away to safety.

Despite dominating for long periods it took England until the 45th minute to break the deadlock and it was Sunderland's Wickham who got the opener, nodding in Jordan Henderson's free-kick from close range.

Afobe, who was an unused substitute for Bolton in the 2-2 draw with Blackpool at the weekend, clinched the win with a penalty 15 minutes from time.

Ince will now report back to training with Blackpool tomorrow ahead of The Seasiders' trip to Bristol City on Saturday.