Footabll: Aldridge on a roll in Riga

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The Independent Online
Latvia . . . . . . . . .0

Republic of Ireland. . .3

JACK CHARLTON'S new-look Republic of Ireland strolled to their biggest away win of his eight years in charge to get their European Championship qualifying campaign off to a flying start in Riga yesterday.

A punchless Latvia side were dismissed by two goals from John Aldridge and a spectacular effort by John Sheridan on a rainy night when their success was dampened only by a small crowd of 3,226 and the low quality of the opposition.

Charlton's team won comfortably 2-0 in Riga 15 months ago on the way to qualifying for the World Cup finals and this time it was easier.

The striker Niall Quinn, returning after 10 months out through injury, set up the first two goals. In the 16th minute, his knock-down from a Gary Kelly cross left Aldridge with a simple tap-in. Thirteen minutes later Quinn exchanged passes with Sheridan and the Sheffield Wednesday midfielder slipped through the centre to fire into the top corner.

In the second half, Aldridge expertly dispatched the third Irish goal from the penalty spot after an infringement in the area.

LATVIA: Karavajevs (Vacija); Troickis (Skonto), Astafjevs (Skonto) Zemlinskis (Skonto), Sevlakovs (Skonto), Lobanjovs (Skonto), Sarando (Gallivare), Mikuckis (Skonto), Babicevs (Skonto), Milevskis (VAC Vienna), Bulders (Kiruna). Substitutes: Jelisejeus (Skonto), Stephanous (Skonto).

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: A Kelly (Sheff Utd); G Kelly (Leeds) Irwin (Man United) McGrath (Aston Villa), Babb (Liverpool), McAteer (Bolton), Townsend (Aston Villa), Aldridge (Tranmere), Quinn (Man City), Sheridan (Sheff Wed), Staunton (Aston Villa). Substitutes: Cascarino (Marseille), McGoldrick (Arsenal).

Referee: A Frisk (Sweden).