It took two minutes and 52 seconds after kick-off for keeper David Forde to become the first Irishman to get a meaningful touch of the ball. As Xavi, Pedro, Andres Iniesta, David Silva and David Villa went through their full range of tricks, Ireland deployed their most effective weapons, bravery, commitment and organisation, and although there were several real scares along the way, they managed to get to half-time without conceding. Indeed, they might have returned to the dressing room with an unlikely lead had Derby striker Conor Sammon been able to find a finish off a great opportunity. He looked odds on to score when he caught Gerard Pique, who had earlier seen a header cleared off the line by James McCarthy, in possession with 27 minutes gone and raced through on goal, only to prod his shot wide. Del Bosque replaced Silva with £14.9million Manchester City new boy Jesus Navas at the break, but the pattern of the first half was largely repeated with Spain dominating possession and Ireland hanging on for dear life. Spain came in wave after wave, but simply could not break down the Irish ranks with Forde coming from his line to pluck Pedro’s 55th-minute cross off Villa’s head after good work by Navas. Del Bosque shuffled his pack as the hour mark approached with Victor Valdes, Iniesta and Villa making way for Iker Casillas, Cesc Fabregas and Soldado. McShane survived penalty appeals with Jordi Alba ambitiously claiming he had handled his 65th-minute cross, but Ireland were not so fortunate four minutes later. Full-back Alvaro Arbeloa turned up inside the box and prodded the ball towards Soldado, whose crisp volley flew beyond Forde and into the bottom corner. Casillas pulled off a notable stop to turn Stephen Kelly’s near-post header on to the bar, and when the ball came back off the post, St Ledger controlled and fired home only to have his big moment ruined by the officials. Worse was to follow when Mata, who had replaced Pedro in the immediate aftermath of the first Spanish goal, rubbed salt into the wound with a coolly-taken second two minutes from time to cement victory. Press Association The reigning World and European champions were leading through substitute Roberto Soldado’s 69th-minute strike when central defender St Ledger stabbed home what he thought was an equaliser with nine minutes remaining. However, an offside flag against team-mate Simon Cox cut short his celebrations and those of the Irish contingent among a crowd of 39,368 at Yankee Stadium. Juan Mata made sure of the win two minutes from time, but while there was no doubting his side were worthy of their advantage after dominating much of the contest, Ireland, who also went close to levelling through substitute James McClean, left the pitch aggrieved at their misfortune. Sean St Ledger had hero status snatched from his grasp as Ireland very nearly held Spain to a draw before they suffered a 2-0 defeat in New York.
“The first season was great and the second obviously ended in us getting promoted and now we’re in the Premier League where we want to be, so I’m really happy here and pleased that I’ve done this.” Jedinak won Palace’s player of the year award last season as they earned their place in the Barclays Premier League through the play-offs. While their fortunes this term have been somewhat chastening – they lie bottom of the standings, six points adrift of safety – Jedinak penning a new deal is likely to appease the club’s supporters. He added: “I’ve built some strong relationships with players here and I’ve tried to make myself available to every player that comes through the gates and make them feel welcome and part of what we do. “Everyone knows what we’re about here and I have no doubts that we’ll continue to push forward.” The 29-year-old midfielder has proved very popular since arriving at Selhurst Park in July 2011 from Turkish outfit Genclerbirligi and will now stay with the London club until June 2017. The Australian international told the club’s official website: “I’m ecstatic to put pen to paper on a new contract, I’ve been a part of this football club for two and a half years and I’ve enjoyed every moment of that. Press Association Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak has committed his future to the club after signing a new three-and-a-half-year deal.