Norway cruise past O'Neill's NI

Michael O'Neill's first match in charge of Northern Ireland ended in defeat as a deflected opener and two late goals gave Norway a 3-0 win.

Last Updated: 29/02/12 at 22:05 Post Comment

Shiels (l) and Grindham: Battle for the ball

Shiels (l) and Grindham: Battle for the ball

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Things started brightly enough at Windsor Park in Belfast on Wednesday night, with the hosts having the best of the first period only to go behind a minute before the break after Sammy Clingan diverted Havard Nordtveit's shot past Lee Camp.

Tarik Elyounoussi then doubled the winning margin with a neat shot on the turn and Espen Ruud's volley sealed it in added time.

O'Neill's first teamsheet included recalled duo Dean Shiels and Shane Ferguson, both absent from the national set-up for the last two years of Nigel Worthington's tenure.

There was also a change at the back, with Jonny Evans given the chance to establish himself in his preferred centre-back position in place of Gareth McAuley, who was shifted to right-back.

David Healy started on the bench but with 17 minutes left became his country's most capped outfield player - cap number 92 taking him clear of Mal Donaghy.

Northern Ireland's first attack, in the second minute, saw full-back Ryan McGivern break down the left and fire a powerful effort at goal.

Goalkeeper Rune Jarstein reacted well to tip it over the crossbar only for Shiels to produce a tame header from the resulting corner.

Ferguson was next to try his luck down the left and his deflected cross just evaded Martin Paterson on the six-yard line.

The lively start found the fans in noticeably better voice than they had been at the end of the Worthington era, with O'Neill's arrival in the technical area warmly welcomed.

Clingan was using the ball well in midfield, freeing Ferguson again as a quick Northern Ireland break again stretched the visiting defence.

Norway were content to counter-attack in the opening 20 minutes, but too often left Mohammed Abdellaoue isolated up front.

Northern Ireland endured a nervy moment after 25 minutes, a weak defensive header from Ferguson handing Norway a clear opportunity on the right-hand side of the penalty area.

Luckily, it fell to full-back Tom Hogli, who blazed over.

Moments later Northern Ireland had the best chance so far.

Ferguson's cross was poorly dealt with, leading to a frenetic couple of seconds that saw Steven Davis, Paterson and McAuley all try to force the ball over the line from close range.

Davis was closest to success, with McAuley's sliced effort ending the danger.

There was a warning for the home side too when Erik Huseklepp worked Camp at the near post.

John Arne Riise twice looked primed for spectacular volleys but made negligible contact with both attempts.

Norway did take the lead a minute before the break when Aaron Hughes half-cleared a corner as far as Nordtveit, whose low shot beat Camp via the unfortunate Clingan.

O'Neill made two changes at the interval, Grant McCann on for Corry Evans and Michael Duff ending a four-year exile in place of Hughes.

McCann was quick to make an impression, winning the ball in midfield, carrying it 10 yards and forcing a fingertip save from 25 yards.

At the other end Camp fumbled Riise's near-post effort but was lucky to see Daniel Braaten botch the rebound.

Shiels was lively in his role linking midfield and attack and his cross on the hour allowed Davis a header at goal.

A clever through ball from McGivern then found Shiels clear of his man inside the area but a crucial saving tackle snuffed out the danger.

With a little over 20 minutes remaining, O'Neill turned to winger Paddy McCourt, who came on for the impressive Ferguson.

The Celtic man was watched from the stands by club boss Neil Lennon, returning to the ground where he was once barracked by his own fans on international duty.

McCourt was quick to make an impact too, twice beating his man on the left and sending in testing crosses.

Healy, meanwhile, had been left waiting long enough for his record-breaking appearance and he was next off the bench to replace Paterson.

The Rangers striker was unable to mark the occasion with a goal but Norway had time for two more.

Elyounoussi extended the visitors' lead three minutes from time when he beat Camp at the near post, before Ruud's superb stoppage-time volley made it 3-0 despite the Nottingham Forest keeper getting a strong hand to it.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Thursday, 23 April 2015
04:00
USA U23 3-0 Mexico U23  
Thursday, 16 April 2015
01:30
USA 2-0 Mexico  
Wednesday, 01 April 2015
02:00
Mexico 1-0 Paraguay  
01:00
Argentina 2-1 Ecuador  
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
20:45
Portugal 0-2 Cape Verde  
19:45
Italy 1-1 England Report
Holland 2-0 Spain  
19:30
Austria 1-1 Bos&Herz  
Slovakia 1-0 Czech Rep  
19:15
Luxembourg 1-2 Turkey  

Footer 365

Hamilton 1-0 St Mirren: Ali Crawford grabs late Accies winner

Ali Crawford's late goal earned Hamilton Academical a 1-0 win over St Mirren, who failed to inspire new manager Ian Murray.

Alan Pardew not sure Crystal Palace can match fine season in 2015-16

Alan Pardew says it is going to be difficult to repeat Crystal Palace's sensational second half of the season when the 2015-16 campaign starts.

Tim Sherwood expects Christian Benteke to remain Aston Villa player

Tim Sherwood is convinced Christian Benteke wants to stay at Aston Villa, although he has not broached the subject with him.

Mail Box

Only One Real Manager Of The Year

Winning the Premier League with the best squad in the Premier League is only par; Ronald Koeman did a whole lot better. Plus, the last word on Raheem and...

Don't Slate Sterling For Ambition...

Raheem Sterling deserves credit for his desire to quit Liverpool, according to one mailboxer. Also: why football should not be compared to business and Degsy's latest spot of bother...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company