Watch former Crawley Town forward score on Republic of Ireland debut

James Collins in action for Crawley Twon. Picture by PWW Sporting Photography
James Collins in action for Crawley Twon. Picture by PWW Sporting Photography

Former Crawley Town striker James Collins enjoyed a dream debut for the Republic of Ireland in their 3-1 friendly win over Bulgaria last (Tuesday) night.

The 28-year-old added the Republic's third goal with four minutes of the game remaining. Fellow debutant Jack Byrne played a clever pass into Enda Stevens and the Sheffield United defender hit a wonderful first time cross into the area for Collins to poke home.

Earlier in the game Preston North End's Alan Browne had prodded the Irish into the lead on 56 minutes after a mistake from Bulgaria keeper Hristo Ivanov.

Collins then came off the bench to replace Stoke City striker Scott Hogan on the hour.

The Bulgarians equalised from the penalty spot on 67 minutes. Sheffield United defender John Egan hauled Bozhidar Kraev down in the box and Ivelin Popov stepped up to fire home the spot kick.

The Republic of Ireland retook the lead with seven minutes to go. Ivanov misjudged a Byrne corner, allowing Burnley defender Kevin Long to head into an empty net.

Collins then completed the scoring for the Irish to wrap up a successful night in Dublin.

Former striker Collins made 51 appearances and scored 22 goals in all competitions for Crawley Town in the 2016/17 campaign before his move to Luton Town in the summer of 2017.

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