Belfast Telegraph

I'll give him the assist: Josh Magennis and Conor Washington battle over equaliser as Northern Ireland come from behind to beat Estonia

Conor Washington and Josh Magennis are both claiming Northern Ireland's equalising goal in Tallinn.
Conor Washington and Josh Magennis are both claiming Northern Ireland's equalising goal in Tallinn.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

As tight a group as this current Northern Ireland squad is, when it comes to contentious goals, it's every man for himself.

Josh Magennis and Conor Washington are both staking their claims over Northern Ireland's equalising goal in Saturday evening's 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Estonia.

The duo were both brought off the bench by manager Michael O'Neill with the score at 1-0 to the hosts.

Two goals in three minutes turned the scoreboard on its head and, while both agreed that the win was more important than who got the goals, neither was willing to give any ground.

It was Washington who did all the hard work for the leveller, cutting in from the left and unleashing a goalbound shot that nicked off Magennis, who definitely got the second as he touched in Jordan Jones' cross.

"Conor's a free agent so I might need to say him," laughed Magennis when asked who should get the credit. "I'll give him the assist. I'm sure it did hit me but I'll let the guys in the studio say.

"It's fantastic to score, whether it's one each or I'll take the two."

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Conor Washington gives Josh Magennis a kiss after their decisive impact off the bench.

Sky Sports analysts Chris Baird and Iain Dowie both gave the goal to Magennis but Washington, who was released by Sheffield United last month, isn't giving up.

"Absolutely not - I'll take the goal," he smiled. "Like Josh said, the most important thing is the win.

"We wanted 12 points early doors to give us a fighting chance and we're well on the way to doing that."

A win in Belarus on Tuesday and Northern Ireland will go into the four games against Germany and the Netherlands with a 100% record.

That's thanks to the late rally in Estonia that Magennis says tells a story about the squad's development.

"The first half was a bit tricky and then managed to turn it on in the second half," he said. "It's testament to the team - we've got not only a plan A but a plan B as well. We've got players fighting to come off the bench if they're not in the team. We're going in the right direction and we're proud of the win.

"We know we've got a real fighting chance. We just had to make sure that when we came to the end, we had nothing else to blame and that we had given it our best.

"We're looking forward to Belarus now."

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