Northern Ireland’s strikers produced the goods last night to give the hosts a 2-1 win over Denmark and send them to the top of the Elite Section.
Glenavon striker Andrew Mitchell gave the home side the lead at the end of the first half before his replacement Dion Charles added number two in the second half.
An own goal in the dying embers of the game from Jamie Sendels-White was unable to take the shine off the victory and, coupled with a draw in the other game in the group, ensured Northern Ireland go into tomorrow’s encounter with the USA top of the pile.
It was a cagey start to proceedings for the home side and Denmark used the ball well, without providing too much attacking threat.
Indeed they looked the side most likely to break the deadlock in the opening quarter of the match, but it took them until 25 minutes to fashion a credible chance.
Their first clearcut opportunity came from Mikkel Jensen, who stung the hands of Conor Thompson but was unable to beat the Torquay United goalkeeper from distance.
Five minutes later and Northern Ireland hit back but Callum Camps, despite having time and space on the edge of the box, could only produce a rather tame effort on goal.
As the half wore on Stephen Robinson’s boys started to grow into the game, finding joy down the left flank through Rhys Sharpe and Jamie Reid.
Indeed it was this combination which led to Mitchell’s goal and he pounced following a corner on the left flank.
The Danes were unable to clear the danger inside the box and, after initially looping the ball goalwards, Mitchell was on hand to force the ball over the line to opening the scoring from a yard out, as the first half ticked into overtime.
The home side doubled their advantage with 20 minutes left on the clock thanks to Norwich City striker Charles.
He showed his class as he cut in from the right flank, leaving two players in his wake before cutting a shot inside Oliver Korch’s near post.
Three minutes after seeing his side’s lead doubled Cliftonville’s Jonathan McMurray made his way into the box after a jinking run but his shot was just too close to Korch.
With the game into injury time Denmark finally got on to the scoresheet as Junker this time turned provider.
His creativity down the left fed the ball ended with a driven cross into the box which struck the unfortunate Jamie Sendels-White before beating Thompson in the home goal.
Northern Ireland: Thompson, Sendels-White, Buchanan, McCullough, Sharpe, Camps (McEneff), McGeehan, Reid (McMurray), Mitchell (Charles), McElroy
Denmark: Korch, Aaquist, Nielsen (Amankwaa), Laursen, Rye, Junker, Kongstedt, Blabjerg, A Christensen, T Christensen (Andersen), M Jensen (Nielsen)
All of Monday’s results and Tuesday’s fixtures
Co Down 0 Watford 5, San Luis de Colina 0 North Dublin 5, Southampton 1 Cavan & Monaghan 1, Japan 3 Co Fermanagh 0, Plymouth 1 Strikers FC 2, Brenford 5 Ipswich 0, Dundalk 1 Co Armagh 2, Co Londonderry 0 Co Antrim 2, Swindon Town 0 Everton 1, Co Tyrone 0 Liverpool 2.
Strikers FC South Coast 6 TuS Altenberge 0, Otago Utd 3 Co. Fermanagh 1, Newcastle Utd 3 O’Higgins FC 2, Cruz Azul 1 Cherry Orchard 0, Co. Down 0 Vendee FC 0, SC Corinthians 3 Bohemian FC 2, Club America de Mexico 0 Co. Tyrone 3, Co. L’derry 0 CSKA Moscow 1, Manchester Utd 3 Co. Antrim 0, Liverpool 2 Co. Armagh 3
Northern Ireland 2 Denmark 1, USA 1 Mexico 1.
Noon: Co. Tyrone v Southampton (Broughshane), Co. Antrim v Brentford FC (Anderson Park, Coleraine, Co. Fermanagh v Plymouth Argyle (The Warren, Portstewart).
1.30pm: Co. Armagh v Swindon Town (Clough), Everton v Dundalk SL (Rugby Ave, Coleraine), Co. Down v San Luis de Colina (Castlerock), Watford FC v North Dublin SL (Parker Ave, Portrush), Liverpool v Cavan Monaghan DL (Riada Stadium, Ballymoney)
3.30pm: Ipswich Town v Co. L’derry (Anderson Park, Coleraine), Strikers FC South Coast v Japan FA (Scroggy Road, Limavady)
3.30pm: Vendee FC v Cruz Azul (Broughshane), CSKA Moscow v Bohemian FC (The Warren, Portstewart)
5pm: Cherry Orchard v Co. Down (Riada 2, Ballymoney), Co. Fermanagh v Club America de Mexico (Rugby Avenue, Coleraine), Co. Tyrone v Otago Utd (Parker Avenue, Portrush)
7pm: O’Higgins FC v Liverpool (Scroggy Road, Liverpool), Co. Antrim v TuS Altenberge (Seahaven, Portstewart)
8pm: Co. L’derry v SC Corinthians (Riada Stadium, Ballymoney), Co. Armagh v Newcastle Utd (Ballymena Showgrounds), Manchester Utd v Strikers FC South Coast (Coleraine Showgrounds)