Switzerland won’t be quaking in their boots at the prospect of playing the Republic of Ireland up next in September, though Ireland were much the better team tonight and should have won by more than two goals. Failure to create many clear chances and wastefulness in front of goal was the biggest issue for The Boys in Green on the night.
The fact that Gibraltar played with a very inexperienced team (six players under the age of 21) is a further worry for Ireland.
Ireland had a chance inside the first minute but the ball eludes Duffy and it goes over the bar.
McGoldrick then has a chance with the ball dropping to him just inside the box. He shoots high and wide from a tight angle though.
Good atmosphere in the early stages with the crowd in good voice, most sections of the stadium close to full. The attendance would later be announced as being in excess of 36,000.
Ireland dominate and monopolize possession for the majority of the match but struggle to create clear cut chances with Scott Hogan being guilty of missing the best of Ireland’s chances.
Gibraltar’s star man Lee Casciaro has to come off injured after ten minutes of play and he looks very disappointed with that.
On 18 minutes, Goldwin takes what seems like his 10th goal-kick. Ireland dominating but not creating much. Goldwin jeered very loudly each time he takes a goal-kick and proceeds to lump the ball out of play on the right hand flank within 40 yards of the goal-line every time he takes a goal-kick.
Hogan is put through on goal on 20 minutes by Hendrick, Goldwin makes a good save but the linesman’s flag is up for offside.
Robinson flashes the ball across the penalty area and it barely eludes Hogan’s head 12 yards out with midway through the first-half.
Hourihane is taken down 25 yards from goal for a free-kick which is very much Hourihane territory. Free-kick goes straight into the Gibraltar wall. Coleman plays a one-two with McGoldrick and reaches the by-line but slices the ball high and wide from the attempted cross.
Ireland finally take the lead through David McGoldrick with a shot from just inside the box which is deflected into the top corner off Chipolina leaving Goldwin wrongfooted in goal.
Ball played into the Gibraltar six-yard box by Stevens, Hogan collides with Goldwin who wins the ball and the goalkeeper gets a knock to the face in the resulting collision on 37 minutes.
Goldwin is able to continue having received treatment for approximately three minutes.
Hogan put through on goal by McGoldrick, he rounds the goalkeeper but the angle is too tight and Gibraltar clear their lines.
Ireland good value for the lead at half-time if profligate in front of goal.
Stevens shoots from 25 yards five minutes into the second half but his effort is easily blocked. Ireland’s lack of penetration in the first-half is continuing to be the pattern in the second-half.
Hogan heads goalwards on 53 minutes but his effort is easily saved. A very good chance for Hogan again a few minutes later, he wins a header six yards from goal.
Goldwin clears quickly upfield and it finds Walker a few yards outside Ireland’s box. His effort is deflected into Randolph’s arms.
Coleman plays the ball to McGoldrick around the penalty spot but Goldwin saves the resulting effort acrobatically just past the hour mark.
Another chance comes to Hogan but he mistimes his jump again and the ball bounces off his head and away from danger.
Goldwin makes a good save at his near post from Hogan who is substituted by former Cork City man Seán Maguire. In truth, Hogan should have come off earlier, he has been extremely wasteful in front of goal all night. Hopefully former Cork City man Seáni Maguire can make a difference. Gibraltar clear the resulting corner.
Ireland come as close as possible to a second with McGoldrick hitting the post from 20 yards on the 70 minute mark.
Robinson is substituted for Robbie Brady after 72 minutes.
Hernandez is replaced by Ethan Jolley for Gibraltar on 75 minutes.
Ireland have another corner on 80 minutes but Duffy can’t direct his header on target in a crowded goalmouth.
Richard Keogh tripped in the Gibraltar box by substitute Jolly six minutes from time but goal-kick awarded.
Keogh plants a header into Goldwin’s arms as we tick past the first minute of injury-time.
Finally the second goal goes in, ball played across by McClean, which eludes Goldwin and Brady heads into the roof of the empty net from four yards out two minutes into injury-time.
Ireland had the vast majority of the territory and possession but failure to create many clear-cut chances and profligacy in front of goal means that there is a lot to improve on for Ireland ahead of the next match against Switzerland in September.
REPUBLIC of IRELAND: Randolph, Coleman (C), Stevens, Duffy, Keogh, McGoldrick, McClean, Robinson, Hendrick, Hourihane, Hogan.
GIBRALTAR: Goldwin, Chipolina, Sergeant, Annesley, Casciaro, Walker, Pons, Olivero, Chipolina (C), Hernandez, De Barr.
MAN OF THE MATCH: David McGoldrick
Referee: Radu Petrescu (Romania)