Defensive blunder hands victory to Turkey
Industrious Northern Ireland display ends in defeat
Northern Ireland’s Oliver Norwood reacts to a missed chance during the international friendly against Turkey in Adana. Photo: William Cherry/Inpho
Michael O’Neill’s side were outclassed in terms of talent but had it not been for an unforgivable lack of concentration at the back their hard work and resilience would have yielded some reward.
Just seconds before the break goalkeeper Carroll and defender Baird suffered a dreadful lack of communication, both standing off as Mevlut Erdinc nipped in to touch Bilal Kisa’s chip over the line.
It was a bitter pill for the visitors to swallow but to their credit they dug deep to ensure they did not fall further behind – Baird responding creditably after his error and Jonny Evans impressive in repelling the Turkish onslaught.
Kisa tested goalkeeper Carroll early on before a pair of goalline clearances saved Northern Ireland in the 10th minute.
Adem Buyuk’s initial effort was goalbound until Steve Davis headed it back at the near post and Ersan Adem Gulum’s follow-up looked destined for the far corner when Oliver Norwood glanced it up and off the crossbar.
The visitors rarely posed a threat in attack although Steven Davis saw a late goal-bound volley unintentionally blocked by Martin Paterson before it tested the reflexes of Turkish’keeper Zengin.
TURKEY: Zengin, Gönül (Camdal 72 ), Erkin, Ozyakup (Yilmaz 45 ), Kaya , Gülüm, Büyük (Ucan 67 ), Topal, Erding (Töre 77 ), Kisa (Sahan 83 ), Turan (Dogan - 89’ ) .
NORTHERN IRELAND: Carroll (Mannus 45 ), Hodson, Lafferty (McGivern 76 ), Evans, Baird, Hughes, Norwood, Clingan (McKay 75 ), Paterson, McGinn (Steele 67 ), Davis.