Magennis and Washington both want credit for Northern Ireland opener

Josh Magennis and Conor Washington both sought to claim Northern Ireland’s opening goal in their dramatic come-from-behind 2-1 win over Estonia in Tallinn on Saturday night.

It was Washington who cut inside from the left wing and made his way to the centre of the penalty area before shooting at goal, but the ex-Sheffield United man’s strike appeared to come off Magennis on its way in.

Washington was ultimately credited with the goal, although Magennis – who definitely scored the winner – was adamant he got the last touch.

“Conor cut inside and I was just trying to open the goal as much as I can for him,” Magennis said. “If it didn’t hit me it was going to go in anyway, but it got a nick.

“I looked at the linesman, I wondered if he was going to flag because I was worried I was off.

“We’re both strikers, we’re both going to claim it no matter what they say in the studio.”

And Washington did indeed claim it. The 27-year-old has every need for a goal at this level having been released by United at the end of the season, with these games a priceless shop window for the free agent.

“To any manager listening out there, I’m a free transfer!” he said with a laugh. “It was nice to get back playing and hopefully I’ve changed my destiny.”

Washington was a half-time replacement for Liam Boyce and impressed with his movement and energy, showing good fitness despite his lack of playing time for the Blades.

“Sheffield United were brilliant with me all season in terms of keeping me fit. I was in and around the action, and I like to keep myself ticking over anyway,” he said. “I’m definitely ready to start and hopefully I’ve given the manager a bit of a headache.”

Magennis is likewise hoping to start in Tuesday’s match against Belarus in Borisov, having found the net against them in Belfast in March.

“It’s unbelievable to score,” the Bolton man said. “It’s a striker’s job to score goals but to be able to do it in back-to-back games for your country is just brilliant.

“As subs coming off the bench you just have to make sure you make an impact and it’s not time wasted, you’re not just getting on for the sake of getting on and the subs have done that.

“Me and Conor are involved in the goals but Jordan (Jones) was unbelievable on the wing.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to be on the scoresheet but so much goes into getting the ball into the back of the net, so we’ll take confidence from that and then look forward to Belarus.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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