Northern Ireland see off Faroes

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:26

Northern Ireland see off Faroes

First-half goals from Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty were enough to give Michael O’Neill’s side all three points and maintain their perfect start to qualifying.
The win moved Northern Ireland two points clear at the top of Group F with all sides have played two games in the group.
Northern Ireland got off to a flying start when they hit the front after just six minutes as Gareth McAuley got on the end of Chris Baird’s flick-on from a corner at the far post to volley home from close-range.
The home side were pushing forward at every opportunity and they doubled their lead on 20 minutes with a fine finish from Lafferty.
Shane Ferguson fired over a cross from the left and Lafferty timed his run to perfection before cleverly flicking the ball past Faroes goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen with the outside of his boot.
Lafferty thought he had scored his second of the game just three minutes when unmarked inside the box he got on the end of Oliver Norwood’s cross and powered his header goalwards only to see Gunnar Nielsen produce a flying save to keep out his effort.
Norwich striker Lafferty was causing the Faroes defence all sorts of problems and he went close to scoring again just past the half hour mark when he headed Jamie Ward’s cross just wide of the target.
The Faroe Islands wasted a great chance to find a way back into the contest on 36 minutes when they won a penalty after Ferguson was adjudged to have tugged back Joan Edmundsson as he ran into the box.
Frodi Benjaminsen took responsibility from the penalty spot, but saw his effort brilliantly pushed onto the post by Roy Carroll.
The impressive Norwood went close to scoring right on the stroke of half-time with a swerving shot from the edge of the area which Gunnar Nielsen just about managed to scramble over the crossbar.
Northern Ireland continued to dominate proceedings in the second half and full-back Connor McLaughlin really should have made it 3-0 just past the hour mark when the ball fell to him on the penalty spot, but he somehow hit his shot wide of the target.
Substitute Paddy McCourt looked dangerous when he came on for Niall McGinn and the Brighton man went close to scoring when he flashed a shot wide of the target from the edge of the box.
However, Northern Ireland comfortably saw the game out in the closing stages to secure back-to-back victories for the first time under O’Neill to set them up perfectly for next week’s trip to Greece.

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