MX23RW : Sunday, May 19 09:15:33| >> :600:61182250:61182250:
Jun 2, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Windsor Park
Northern Ireland
1-0
New ZealandNew Zealand
Boyce (6')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Result: Liam Boyce fires Northern Ireland to friendly win over New Zealand

Northern Ireland beat New Zealand 1-0 in an international friendly at Windsor Park, courtesy of an early Liam Boyce strike.

Ross County striker Liam Boyce netted his first international goal to earn Northern Ireland a 1-0 win over New Zealand at Windsor Park.

The Scottish Premiership's top scorer found a way through early on in the first ever meeting between the two sides, making the most of his chance to impress manager Michael O'Neill on a night of experimentation in Belfast.

Ireland bossed large parts of the game and should have won by a bigger margin, yet the best chance of the lot fell New Zealand's way in the final 20 minutes and they will perhaps feel aggrieved not to have claimed a draw on their travels.

The home side edged a fairly flat first half, finding what proved to be the winner early on through Boyce and creating a few more chances that they were unable to make the most of.

Boyce did well when the opening fell his way six minutes in, cutting inside and firing past Stefan Marinovic from inside the area to get off the mark.

Marinovic was being kept busy in the opening stages, denying Josh Magennis from a couple of corners as the Green and White Army went in search of a second goal.

They may not have been at full strength, with debutant Tom Flanagan among those being given a run in the side, but it was proving to be an easy evening for the hosts as the first half wore on.

Chris Brunt dragged horribly wide with one attempt and Chris Wood likewise up the other end, but a slightly better opportunity presented itself for the Leeds United striker soon after.

A cross from the right was met with his head, though he was under pressure and failed to get the desired contact on the ball.

It failed to get much better for the All Whites, while Ireland's best opening for a second fell Magennis's way right on the brink of half time, only for the Charlton Athletic man to blast at Marinovic from a tight angle.

Ireland made a few changes at the break, bringing on Kyle Lafferty for the remaining 45 minutes and he nearly added a killer second moments after being introduced.

Magennis's cross from the right needed helping home, but his first-time shot had too much on it and ended wide of the target.

New Zealand did grow into the match a little more, with Tom Doyle blasting wide and substitute Kosta Barbarouses picking out the post when played in behind.

Prior to Barbarouses's glorious chance Magennis nodded over from a Shane Ferguson cross, but in the end neither team could add to the scoring.

Northern Ireland now head to Turkey for a short break before their trip to Baku to face Azerbaijan in a crucial qualifier, while the All Whites have one more friendly to come ahead of the 2017 Confederations Cup later this month.

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Michael O'Neill during the Euro 2016 Group C match between Ukraine and Northern Ireland on July 16, 2016
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