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In-depth report: Northern Ireland beaten by USA but there were five reasons this was a worthwhile exercise for Ian Baraclough

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Niall McGinn's stunning goal was one of the bright points to take away from defeat to USA.

Niall McGinn's stunning goal was one of the bright points to take away from defeat to USA.

©INPHO/Brian Little

Niall McGinn's stunning goal was one of the bright points to take away from defeat to USA.

In the greater scheme of this week, tonight’s friendly was largely irrelevant - a game forced upon Northern Ireland by FIFA to fill a fixtures void.

With a vital World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria just days away, this was a game Ian Baraclough and his team could have done without.

Yet Niall McGinn’s stunning volley to bring Northern Ireland back into the game in the dying minutes, Dion Charles looking threatening on debut, Shayne Lavery’s tigerish effort, Daniel Ballard and Ciaron Brown being stubborn in defence and goalkeeper Conor Hazard not having a save to make until 12 minutes to go made this a worthwhile exercise.


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