Andorra 1-4 Republic of Ireland: Tottenham striker Troy Parrott inspires comeback win against braced minnows in second half before late double seals first win for manager Stephen Kenny on 12th attempt
- Vales headed Andorra on a surprising lead seven minutes after the break
- Parrott scored his first international goal in the 58th minute to
- Attacker scored his second three minutes later with a header from the back post
- Knight and Horgan shined on victory with late goals
Troy Parrott’s first international goals saved the Republic of Ireland as they came from behind in Andorra to eventually give manager Stephen Kenny the win on the 12th attempt.
The 19-year-old Tottenham striker wiped out Marc Vales’ shocking 52nd-minute opener with a sweet strike, then headed the ball to restore order to Andorra La Vella with Jason Knight and substitute Daryl Horgan taking a 4 1 win ended as time ran out.
Parrott’s timing could hardly have been better as Ireland find themselves humiliated in the tiny principality of the Pyrenees less than three months after their 1-0 defeat to Luxembourg in the World Cup qualifier.
Troy Parrott’s double helped Stephen Kenny to his first win as Republic of Ireland manager
Kenny’s men failed to make a single attempt on goal in a frustrating first half, but sprang into action following Vales’ intervention to negate Andorra’s hopes of just an eighth win in their history.
Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu was a virtual spectator aside from the goal, but the manager must have been concerned about the lack of concentration that allowed the home side a chance to beat him, and the lack of acumen his team displayed until Parrott imposed himself on the game.
Fullbacks James McClean and Matt Doherty were quick to make the most of the space ahead in the early stages, although they were unable to find the required quality of the cross to make it count.
The Tottenham striker scored his second three minutes later with a header from behind
Anderlecht midfielder Josh Cullen proved up to the task of mopping up after a series of attacks from the home side set up in the final third, although Ireland struggled to play the game Kenny advocated on the tricky artificial surface of the Estadi Nacional .
Even Conor Hourihane’s set-piece deliveries fell short of his usual high standard, with the Andorrans successfully frustrating the visitors so much that goalkeeper Iker Alvarez, the son of manager Koldo Alvarez, failed to make a single save in the opening 45. minutes.
James Collins, however, should have done better when he ducked to meet Knight’s inviting cross in the 37th minute, but his header went wide when Ireland started moving the ball in a more cohesive manner later on.
Midfielder Jason Knight converted a cross from Daryl Horgan to make it 3-1 in the 84th minute
Kenny’s men came back knowing they would have to be significantly better if they were to avoid another embarrassing chapter in their recent history.
But within seven minutes of the restart, they were stunned as defender Vales climbed up unopposed to head a free kick from Alex Martinez past the helpless Bazunu and put Andorra ahead.
However, their advantage lasted only six minutes as Parrott took his cue to open his senior account as he crossed the edge of the penalty area and waited for the perfect moment to send a low shot past 19-year-old Iker.
Knight and Horgan teamed up again on Thursday for the fourth goal in the 89th minute
Ronan Curtis might have given Ireland the lead seconds later after being outplayed by Parrott only to shoot wide, but the Spurs man, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Ipswich, took matters into his own hands with 61 minutes to go when he got up to send a solid header past Iker from Hourihane’s cross.
Ireland dominated as the hosts withered with 41-year-old Ildefons Lima, one of a string of substitutes introduced in an effort to freshen things up, becoming only the second man in the process after Jari Litmanen to play international football in four several decades.
However, Knight converted Horgan’s cross in the 84th minute and returned the favor with seconds remaining as the pair first registered for their country to make it 4-1.
Marc Vales headed Andorra on a surprising lead seven minutes after the break