Belfast Telegraph

Shield dream over for Curry's boys

By Keith Bailie

Northern Ireland's dreams of winning the Victory Shield were crushed on Thursday night, when they lost 4-0 to Wales in Bangor City.

If Northern Ireland had won the game they would have went to the top of the group and been in with a good chance of winning the competition, but the 4-0 defeat at the hands of their Welsh counterparts means they will finish in last place.

Although the tournament ended in disappointment, manager Desi Curry still believes it was a positive experience for the schoolboys, because of their 1-0 win over England earlier this month.

“This tournament is all about helping the players to progress and I think we showed against England that we've came along way.

“People often say the Victory Shield isn't about results, but winning is a big part of football. You've got to learn how to win games.”

Unfortunately Northern Ireland couldn't win in Wales. Local Bangor lad Nathan Broadhead opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he burst into the box and fired the ball past goalkeeper Conor Hazard.

In the 21st minute Everton youngster Broadhead crossed the ball into the box for Liam Cullen to guide home, although Northern Ireland did have three opportunities to clear the ball before Cullen found the net.

14-year-old West Bromich Albion striker Tyler Roberts added two more in the second half. In the 51st minute he dance past the Northern Ireland defence before slotting the ball home and in the 76th minute he turned the ball into the net from inside the penalty box.

After the game young Roberts said: “It was a great performance from the lads. We passed the ball well and looked composed. It was a great feeling to score twice, but it was a team effort.”

Welsh manager Osain Roberts said: “I was pleased with our performance because we asked the boys to get out there and make good start, and that's exactly what we did.

“I was proud of the way we attacked, as we've finally shown people who watch this competition what we're capable of doing. We did well on the ball, but I think the defence deserves a lot of credit for keeping a clean sheet.

“In this competition we tend to talk about performances rather than results and tonight I was proud of our performance. The key thing is that we've mad a lot of progress in the last 12 months.

“We were slightly unlucky against both England and Scotland and we did well tonight. We can be proud of our performances in this competition.”

The last match of the tournament will take place on Thursday, when Scotland face England in Kirkcaldy. A draw will give Scotland the Victory Shield, while England will need to win if they are to retain the famous old trophy.

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