Northern Ireland Women V Austria

SENIOR WOMEN HIT FOUR IN WIN OVER LATVIA The Northern Ireland senior women’s team marked their return to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park with a scintillating victory. They had not played at the stadium for nine years – but they looked at home when registering a 4-0 win against Latvia Women last month. Goals from Louise McDaniel , Kirsty McGuinness, Marissa Callaghan and Rachel Furness (penalty) were enough to secure the fine victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 qualifier played in front of more than 4000 fans in Belfast . Northern Ireland created several chances during the 90-plus minutes, just as they did in the 4-0 win over Luxembourg in their opening European Qualifying Group D fixture, and they could have scored more than four. Kirsty McGuinness, who was given the captain’s armband for the night as she won her 50th cap for Northern Ireland, was immediately on the front foot , running at the Latvian defence. Latvia attacker Olga Sevcova, who was looking dangerous down the left , broke clear on 17 minutes and Northern Ireland keeper Jackie Burns produced a fine stop from her low drive. McDaniel scooped a shot over the top before Lauren Wade fired another shot above the bar. On 35 minutes Sarah McFadden met a McGuinness cross and her looping header hit the top of the bar.

Words: Nigel Tilson

On the stroke of half-time Furness played a superb crossfield ball in behind the Latvian defence to the onrushing Wade, however she screwed her shot wide of the far post . The temporary skipper fed regular captain Callaghan just after the restart but her shot slid wide of the upright . Minutes later Northern Ireland took the lead. Callaghan had a shot blocked but the rebound fell to McDaniel and she drilled the ball into the top corner. It was her first goal at senior international level . On 65 minutes McGuinness grabbed Northern Ireland’s second with a lovely finish. She was played in by Callaghan and drew the keeper before firing a shot low into the far corner. It was a great way to mark her 50-cap milestone. Northern Ireland made it three on 78 minutes when Demi Vance’s superb cross from the left was chested home by Callaghan from close range. The girls in green and white made it 4-0 four minutes later from the spot . The penalty, awarded when Latvia midfielder Karline Miksone handled a Callaghan drive, was hammered into the net by Furness. Northern Ireland: Jacqueline Burns, Demi Vance, Sarah McFadden, Laura Rafferty, Louise McDaniel , Chloe McCarron, Marissa Callaghan, Lauren Wade, Rachel Furness, Kirsty McGuinness (captain) , Kerry Beattie. Substitutes: (used) Rebecca McKenna, Caragh Milligan, Kelsie Burrows, Danielle Maxwell , Ciara Watling; (unused) Becky F laherty (GK) ,



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