By Richard Morgan
Football journalist - @Richiereds1976
Northern Ireland 3-0 Israel: Gavin Whyte gets off the mark with first touch for his country
Last Updated: 12/09/18 10:44am
Northern Ireland got back to winning ways after beating Israel 3-0 in a friendly international at Windsor Park on Tuesday night.
Steven Davis opened the scoring early on with a sweetly-timed volley after a clever corner routine, before Stuart Dallas doubled the home side's lead four minutes before half-time with another well-struck effort.
Northern Ireland: Carson (6), Lewis (7), Jonny Evans (7), McNair (9), Cathcart (7), Saville (8), Davis (8), Corey Evans (6), Dallas (8), Jones (7), Grigg (6)
Subs: Ferguson (6), Whyte (8), Washington (8), Smith (6), Norwood (6)
Israel: Haimov (6), Dasa (6), Habashi (6), Yeini (6), Twatha (6), Natcho (6), Peretz (6), Micha (6), Tibi (6), Dabbur (6), Hemed (6)
Subs: Sabia (6), Glazer (6), Scheimann (6), Turgemanat (6), Kapiloto (6), Bitton (6)
Man of the match: Paddy McNair
Substitute Gavin Whyte then rounded off the scoring midway through the second half with a goal 106 seconds after coming off the bench to hand Michael O'Neill's side just a second win in their last nine encounters.
Despite losing 2-1 at home to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the UEFA Nations League on Saturday, Northern Ireland had produced an impressive display and they took that confidence with them into this contest.
O'Neill's team took the lead after just 13 minutes after good wing play by Paddy McNair, whose dangerous cross forced Guy Haimov to beat the ball behind for a right-wing corner.
The Middlesbrough winger then picked out the unmarked Davis on the edge of the area with a low cross that the midfielder volleyed home, albeit with the help of a slight deflection that wrong-footed Haimov in the visitors' goal.
However, if that finish was impressive, then so was Dallas' strike that put the hosts 2-0 ahead just before half-time. This time George Saville was the provider, the Boro midfielder's inviting centre from the left being converted by the Leeds winger with a cushioned volley at the far post.
While those goals may have caught the eye, though, it was Northern Ireland's final strike that really brought the home faithful off their seats as Whyte scored his first goal for his country with his first touch.
A long, raking ball over the top sent Dallas scampering free to the left byline and his cross then found Conor Washington six yards out. However, after the substitute's close-range effort was blocked by Haimov, there was the Oxford United forward to side-foot home into the empty net.
George Saville and Jamal Lewis kept their places, but Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Kyle Lafferty dropped to the bench. And that meant a first start in three years for striker Will Grigg.
Meanwhile, Gareth McAuley had to return to Rangers in order to work on his fitness, while Josh Magennis was sidelined with injury.
- Northern Ireland's 3-0 victory was their first against Israel since October 1984, ending a run of four games without a win against them (D3 L1); Northern Ireland have now lost just one of their 10 games against Israel in all competitions (P10 W4 D5 L1)
- Northern Ireland have won six of their last seven friendlies at home (L1) having failed to win any of their previous eight (D4 L4)
- Northern Ireland scored as many goals in this game as they managed in their previous seven combined in all competitions (three)
- Northern Ireland's last 12 goals in all competitions at Windsor Park have been scored by different players (Ward, Washington, Boyce, Evans, Brunt, Magennis, an own goal, Smyth, Grigg, Davis Dallas and Whyte)
- Steven Davis' opener for Northern Ireland was his first international goal since a 3-0 away victory over San Marino last September in a World Cup qualifier
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas scored his first goal in 10 appearances, last netting against Azerbaijan in June 2017
The manager - Michael O'Neill
"Gavin has always had an eye for goal and in a wide player, that's a great ability to have. He was consistently a double-figure goalscorer when he was here, he's already got three goals in six for Oxford.
"And now he's opened his international career with a goal, so that's a big plus for us."
Man of the Match - Paddy McNair
The Middlesbrough wide man turned in a faultless display for Northern Ireland in Belfast, with the player's constant raids from his berth at right back really catching the eye for the hosts.
And the 23-year-old's best moment was his blistering run down the right flank that helped create the hosts' opening goal.
Northern Ireland take on Austria at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in their second Group B3 clash of the UEFA Nations League on Friday October 12, before travelling to Bosnia three days later.