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North strike three to see off Belarus


Conor Washington

Conor Washington


Conor Washington

Goals from strikers Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Will Grigg gave Northern Ireland a perfect Belfast send-off before Euro 2016 as they extended their unbeaten run to 11 games with a 3-0 victory over Belarus.

Lafferty notched for the 17th time on the international stage in his 50th cap early on before Washington headed in on the stroke of the interval to make it two goals from two games in Belfast for him.

Neither featured prominently for their parent clubs in the season that just concluded but this was an indication that Michael O'Neill may have found the partnership which will start in the country's first ever European Championship finals.

In-form Wigan forward Grigg, whose viral chant was the song of choice on the Windsor Park terraces throughout, then got the goal the crowd had been begging for as he lashed in his first Northern Ireland strike late on.

Rashford on mark again

Marcus Rashford's rapid progress continued as the 18-year-old took 135 seconds to become the youngest player to score on his England debut in a 2-1 win over Australia and almost certainly claim a place at Euro 2016.

Rashford's Manchester United club mate Wayne Rooney added a second -- a record-extending 52nd England -- 10 minutes after the break before substitute Eric Dier headed an own goal in the 73rd as England recorded a second straight 2-1 win in five days.

However the night belonged to Rashford, who netted three minutes into what was only his 19th professional match, stroking the ball first time past goalkeeper Matt Ryan after creating space inside the area at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

Hodgson tried out fringe players against under-strength opponents, also giving a debut to Burnley keeper Tom Heaton.