21's eye back-to-back wins

21's eye back-to-back wins

Northern Ireland's Alfie McCalmont makes it 3-0 against Lithuania. Credit: PressEye

Jonathan McNabb


Jonathan McNabb



Northern Ireland under-21’s will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins as they square off against Malta in their Euro 2023 qualifying group this evening.

The Green and White Army host the Maltese at Mourneview Park (KO 7:30pm).

John Schofield’s side earned their second win of the group last Friday after a 4-0 win against Lithuania at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

The hosts had led 2-0 at the break as Alfie McCalmont struck on eight minutes as the midfielder was in the right place at the right time to convert from Patrick Lane’s cross, before the advantage was doubled on 43 minutes as Cliftonville striker Paul O’Neill converted from the spot after Ryan Waide was fouled.

The victory was secured with quarter of an hour remaining as McCalmont grabbed his second from John McGovern’s lay off, with Chris Conn adding gloss to the scoreline as he came off the bench to score a delightful free-kick on 87 minutes.

That win means Northern Ireland sit in third spot in the table with six points after playing five games.

Spain lead the way with 15 points so far, with second place in the group earning a play-off spot which is currently Russia on 12 points.

Schofield’s men lost 4-1 to Malta back in September so will be looking for a better performance in Lurgan this time around.

Although entry to tonight’s match at the home of Glenavon is free, fans wishing to see Northern Ireland U21s in action should be aware there are entry requirements in relation to Covid-19.

It is the Irish Football Association’s aim to ensure that supporters enjoy the game safely and responsibly and currently the following guidelines are in place:

All supporters aged 11 and older attending must have available on request:

Proof of full vaccination by showing your Covid-19 Vaccination Card that was issued to you when you received your vaccinations; you must also show valid Photographic ID matching the name on your vaccination card.

- other government issued proofs of full vaccination are also acceptable, provided you also produce valid Photo ID.

- your proof of vaccination must reflect that you have had both doses and that your second dose was administered at least 14 days prior to the fixture you are attending.

If you cannot demonstrate that you are fully vaccinated you will need to show proof of a negative Covid test as follows:

- NHS Lateral Flow test taken no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival at the stadium; you report your result online and have available your NHS email or text notification of your result. Or

- Proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at the stadium.

Alternatively you can also gain entry by demonstrating proof of natural Covid antibodies based upon a positive PCR test within 180 days of the game (including 10 days self-isolation following the result).

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