FT: Northern Ireland 3 Finland 3

Not often you get a 3-3 draw in a friendly and overall it was a very decent game of football with chances at both ends. NI let a two-goal lead slip in the first-half and they will have to be much tighter when they go to Russia on September 7 for their opening World Cup qualifier.

Paterson brings the ball down and lays it off to Carson who elects to shoot from the edge of the box and puts it wide when he had two players in the box he could have passed to.

Paterson forces a corner and this could be the last chance of the game. Shiels takes it but the Finns head clear.

We will have a minimum of three minutes added time.

A dogged Shiels chases a lost cause and gets in a cross but the keeper gathers at his near post.

3-3 could easily have been 5-5 tonight - not your typical friendly I'm pleased to say.

Riski misses his shot six yards out with the goal at his mercy and that goes down as another lucky escape for the hosts.

Davis is tripped but NI opt to play the ball around and the crowd are not happy - they want a winner!

Paterson is buoyed by his first NI senior goal and is chasing everything now.

Roman Eremenko spots Camp off his line and goes for a chip from 40 yards but it drops just wide.

Paterson is adament he is taking the kick and sends the keeper the wrong way to draw NI level.

Changes before the kick is taken with Norwood replacing Hodson for NI and Daniel Sjolund on for Kuqi.

Davis plays in Paterson whose shirt is pulled by Toivio and the penalty is given.

Shiels then tries to play in Paterson but Toivio makes a vital interception and Finland clear their lines.

NI up the tempo as they look for an equaliser and Shiels tries a curler from the edge of the box but it's well wide.

It's a goal that has been coming and what a strike - worthy of winning any game.

Hetemaj takes the free kick and it's a gem which goes in off the underside of the bar.

Kolehmainen is brought down by McGivern on the edge of the box and the home defender is given a stern lecture by the referee.

Finland are keeping possession and forcing NI tio chase them down in order to try and win it back.

Certainly it's the visitors who are doing most of the pressing still.

Big let off for NI there and it's clear that Finland certainly want to leave Windsor Park with a victory.

Finland almost snatch a third as Riski goes through and clips the ball past the advancing Camp, but McAuley gets back to get it off the line and it bounces up into the grateful arms of Camp.

Better from the home side as they look for what would probably be a winning goal.

McGivern's cross is partially cleared and fall to Davis whose shot from 25 yards is over.

NI try to respond but Davis overhits his intended pass for Paterson.

Riski breaks for Finland and cuts inside but Hodson does well to stay with him and block the shot.

Double change for the Finns with Toni Kolehmainen and Perparim Hetemaj on for Kasper Hamalainen and Alexei Eremenko.

Cathcart breaks down the left but is forced to turn back which brings some groans from the home fans.

Several Finland subs are now warming up so looks like there are more changes on the way.

The pace has dropped in the game and you can hear the players' voices which is not a good sign.

Replays would suggest that NI may well have got away lightly there!

A Finland corner is met by Toivio and his header looks to hit the hand of Cathcart before camp claws it out but penalty appeals are waved away.

Martin Paterson Josh Carson replace Lafferty and Ferguson.

McAuley gets in a vital header as Kuqi sets himself to meet a Riski cross.

Finland are looking the better side at present and NI need someone to produce a spark.

Shiels chases a long pass from Davis, but Finland head the ball clear.

Ward has to concede a corner but again it is too deep and runs away for a goalkick.

Decent spell for the visitors there but NI hold firm at the back.

Another Roman Eremenko shot goes for a corner, but the kick is too deep and is cleared.

Toivio then has a golden chance for the Finns but puts a free header wide from eight yards at the far post.

Roman Eremenko's shot from all of 30 yards comes off Cathcart for a corner which is cleared.

A clanger from keeper Niki Maenpaa sees him mis-kick ward's through ball to Lafferty. He backheels it to Shiels whose shot is blocked as the keeper tries to get back.

Kuqi almost gets a clear run on goal from Kasper Hamalainen's pass but Camp comes off his line to gather.

Sparv is free in the NI box but Camp saves his header - with a late flag going up for offside.

Lafferty wins a high ball on the edge of the Finland cross, but his low shot is saved.

A mistake by McGivern at the back presents the ball to Riski whose first-time shot from 25 yards is just over.

Good run by McGivern sees him pull the ball back for Shiels who twists and turns before flashing a cross along the six yard box but no home player can get a touch.

Northern Ireland gets us back under way and I hope we're in for a few more goals during this second period. Finland have made a change with Pukki replaced by Riski, while Jamie Ward and keeper Lee Camp are on for Brunt and Carroll.

The whistle is blown after a minute of added time and NI will be kicking themselves for letting a two-goal lead slip.

Kuqi is caught offside as Finland attempt one last attack before the half comes to a close.

The ball is won back but Shiels is beaten to the ball by the keeper as Brunt looked to play him in.

Cathcart is penalised for a foul on Kuqi, but Finland opt to knock the ball around rather than load it into the box.

Davis is coming more into the game after a quiet start and he will need to see plenty of the ball if NI are to win this game.

A jinking run by Davis sees him beat three defenders and he plays it out to Brunt but he overhits his cross and it's a goalkick.

Shiels is caught offside as Davis tries to play him in.

Davis tries to set the willing Lafferty away but Joona Toivio sees the danger and clears.

Chris Baird's pass hits Pukki and appeals for handball are waved away. The ball is passed out to Kuqi whose dipping shot from 20 yards goes narrowly wide.

NI enjoy a decent spell of possession but Hodson is unable to latch onto a Davis pass and Finland wn it back.

Hodson puts over a deep cross aimed for Shiels but it's too long and goes out for a goalkick.

Kuqi drills in a shot from the edge of the box but McAuley gets in the way to block.

McGivern's long ball is too strong for Lafferty and it's been a while since NI have put together a meaningful attack.

He carries on as Finland have possession again.

No foul but the Finland striker stays down and needs some attention.

Another cross by Hamalainen is only half cleared by McAuley and Cathcart goes in strongly on Pukki as he is about to shoot.

Kasper Hamalainen gets in a dangerous cross that is met first time by Kuqi but his shot flashes just wide.

Finland once more go back to their patient build up from the backand NI are working hard to close them down.

But Finland win it back and it takes another great challenge form McAuley to prevent Pukki going through.

Lafferty's movement again has the Finns worried and he earns a thrown down the left.

The hosts must now settle the game down, regain their composure and come again as they have been testing this Finnish rearguard.

Wow! From coasting NI are now on the ropes and much of it is their own doing. Slack marking for the first and a rush of bllod by Brunt for the second.

Brunt's suicidal backpass lets in Teemu Pukki and he slips the ball past the advancing Carroll.

Excellent finish by Sparv who had ghosted into the box and had to go back to get in his header, but still managed to generate plenty of power to beat the dive of Carroll.

Kari Arkivuo gets clear down the right and puts in a great cross which Tim Sparv heads in.

The crowd have come to life and few would have predicted this start.

The defender may also have got a touch but no doubt it's Lafferty's goal and well-worked it was too.

More good work by Shiels see him whip a ball into the near post where Lafferty gets acros his marker and the deftest of touches takes the ball into the far corner.

NI look very comfortable in possession and are knockin g the bal around well.

Hodosn bursts down the right and gets in a decent cross aimed at Lafferty but the keeper gathers.

Brunt plays a clever ball through for Shiels, but his touch just lets him down and it goes through to keeper Niki Maenpaa.

There looks to be a fair-sized crowd in Windsor Park tonight, but it's fairly quiet depsite the flying start.

Lafferty chases a pass from Ferguson but Kari Arkivuo gets across to win the ball.

It's the hosts doing the bulk of the pressing now - the goal obviously settling them down.

Davis takes it and McAuley comes flyiong in but Finland manage to head it clear.

Good work from Lafferty who plays a back heel to Shiels wins a corner for the hosts.

Cathcart makes a brilliant tackle to win the ball off Alexei Eremenko as he threatened to burst clear.

Great strike by Ferguson that gave the keeper no chance and a perfect start for the home side - Ferguson first senior goal for his country..

Good work by Shiels sees him get in behind the Finnish defence and although is cross is partially blocked, it drops to Shane Ferguson who rifles the ball in from 16 yards on the volley.

A long punt downfield is chased by Lafferty but Jere Uronen wins the chase.

Gareth McAuley snuffs out a Finland attack with a timely header and it's the visitors who are doing most of the pressing.

First corner of the game goes to the visitors, much to the disgust of right back Lee Hodson. Keeper Carroll puncges clear but the referee has blown up for an infringement.

Finland respond and Kasper Hamalainen tries a shot from 25 yards but it is blocked and the hosts clear.

Kyle Lafferty, now with Swiss club Sion after leaving Glasgow Rangers, is caught offside.

Great tribute to 'Big Mc' there and now Finland get us under way in their all blue strip, with NI in their traditional green shirts and white shorts.

The teams are on their way and Northern Ireland fans have the chance to bid farewell to former national captain Alan McDonald. QPR stalwart McDonald, who won 52 caps for his country and went on to manage Irish League side Glentoran, died at the age of the 48 in June. His son and brother have been asked to lead the sides out at Windsor Park ahead of a minute's applause before kick-off.

The full line-ups have arrived and are as follows - Northern Ireland: Carroll, Hodson, Cathcart, McAuley, McGivern, Brunt, Baird, Davis, Ferguson, Shiels, Kyle Lafferty. Subs: Camp, McPake, Paterson, Little, Danny Lafferty, Clingan, Grigg, Norwood, Carson, Ward, Mannus. Finland: Maenpaa, Uronen, Toivio, Arkivuo, Moisander, Roman Eremenko, Hamalainen, Sparv, Alexei Eremenko, Pukki, Kuqi. Subs: Sillanpaaa, Ojala, Vayrynen, Hetemaj, Furuholm, Riski, Halsti, Sjolund, Porokara, Kolehmainen. Referee: Richard Liesveld (Holland)

Olympiacos goalkeeper Roy Carroll was handed his first Northern Ireland start for six years, taking over from Lee Camp. Manager Michael O'Neill had a much stronger side available to him than the shadow team humbled 6-0 by Holland in June and was able to call on Sion striker Kyle Lafferty and West Brom captain Chris Brunt for the first time since taking over from Nigel Worthington. Fulham's Chris Baird was also back in the fold, starting in central defence after shelving retirement plans and recommitting for the World Cup qualifying campaign.

If you fancy a flutter on tonight's match then our friends at Sky Bet make Northern Ireland 2/1, with Finland 7/5 and the draw a 9/4 chance. A 1-0 win for the hosts is 13/2, while a 2-1 success for the Finns is on offer at 17/2.

Good evening and welcome to coverage of tonight's friendly international between Northern Ireland and Finland from Windsor Park. The timing of this latest batch of friendlies - coming just days before many leagues in Europe start their new campaigns - has come in for much criticism and many teams playing tonight have been hit by withdrawals. What do you think? Team news and line-ups to follow and, as always, your views are most welcome so send them to simon.crawford@sportinglife.com and I'll publish the best ones.


Saturday, 30 May 2015
Mexico v Guatemala  
Sunday, 31 May 2015
Qatar v N Ireland  
Wednesday, 03 June 2015
Peru v Mexico  
Friday, 05 June 2015
Hungary v Lithuania  
Holland v USA  
Scotland v Qatar  
Chile v El Salvador  
Saturday, 06 June 2015
Andorra v Equatorial Guinea  
Argentina v Bolivia  
Uruguay v Guatemala  
Sunday, 07 June 2015
Colombia v Costa Rica  
Rep Ire v England  

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