Troy Parrot’s first international goal was ignored by the Republic of Ireland, while manager Stephen Kenny scored in the 12th attempt when he came from behind in Andorra.
The 19-year-old Tottenham forward overcame Mark Wales’ opening shock with a soft strike in the 52nd minute, then scored a header to restore Andorra La Vella’s order, while Jason Knight and substitute Daryl Horgan scored 4-1.
Parrot’s timing may not be the best as Ireland face humiliation under the Pyrenees’ small administration within three months of their 1-0 defeat to Luxembourg in the World Cup.
In the disappointing first half, Kenny’s men failed to reach the goal, but were caught up in the action after Wales’ intervention to shatter Andorra’s hopes of an eighth win in history.
With the goal aside, goalkeeper Gavin Basu was a virtual spectator, but the manager was concerned about the lack of focus that allowed the home team to beat him and the lack of sharpness on his part until then. Parrot wins the game.
Fullbacks James McLean and Matt Doherty were quick to use the space in front of them at first, but could not find the crossing level needed to calculate it.
Ireland struggled to play the passing game recommended by Kenny on Estadi National’s stunning artificial surface, but Anderlecht midfielder Josh Cullen’s attack from home side failed in the last three.
Goalkeeper Iker Alvarez, the son of manager Koldo Alvarez, missed the opening 45 minutes as even Conor Haririhane’s set pieces fell short of the usual highs.
However, James Collins should have done better in the 37th minute to counter Knight’s tired cross, but his goal was far from over as Ireland’s late move began to move more consistently.
Kenny’s people came back knowing that they would have to get better if they wanted to avoid another embarrassing chapter in their recent history.
But within seven minutes of the resumption, defender Wales went unbeaten and Alex Martinez’s free kick put the helpless Basunu ahead of Andorra.
However, their win lasted only six minutes, with Parrott signaling to open his senior account by cutting the edge of the penalty area and waiting for the perfect moment to pass a low shot past the 19-year-old Iker.
Ronan Curtis may have given Ireland the lead after playing Parrot, but Spursman, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Ipswich, took matters into his own hands with a 61-minute game. The solid title crossed Iker from Hurricane’s cross.
With the hosts hosted, the 41-year-old Eldefonso Lima was one of the replacements introduced in an attempt to revamp things, becoming the second person to play international football in four different decades after Jarry Litman.
However, in the 84th minute, Knight Horgan’s cross was converted and the two took a 4-1 lead for the first time with seconds left.
Kenny: Trust makes a difference
Stephen Kenny speaking to RTE:
“First of all, I don’t know if this was our first win because we had to win a lot. I can not believe we did not win some of the games we played.
“This is a game we have to win and there is no question about it. Once you score a goal, there is reasonable pressure on the players.
“The way we went and the way we came back was great, scoring four goals and goals of real quality. This shows the difference that reliability can make
“It doesn’t matter who scored, it was important for us to score goals because we had a period where we could not score.
“But this is a more difficult test against Hungary. They are going to the Euros, and they were in camp 10 days ago this week. They get good training and on Tuesday we should be at our best. “
The Republic of Ireland travels to Hungary at 7pm on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports football and live on Sky Sports before the start of the World Cup qualifying campaign on September 1 in Portugal.