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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 20:45 GMT 21:45 UK
NI 1-1 Serbia & Montenegro
James Quinn
James Quinn's goal earned Northern Ireland a battling draw against Serbia & Montenegro and maintained the progress under Lawrie Sanchez.

Northern Ireland were rocked in the seventh minute when Veljko Paunovic put the visitors ahead with a neat finish.

However, Dutch-based Quinn levelled in the 18th minute after a superb David Healy cross.

The second half saw few openings with tempers becoming frayed although Steve Jones had a penalty claim turned down.

After a quiet opening, Dragutionovic got in behind the Northern Ireland defence in the fifth minute but his shot from a tight angle was just wide of Taylor's left-hand post.

Within two minutes, the visitors did take the lead with Dragutionovic's pass setting up Mallorca striker Veljko Paunovic who calmly slipped the ball under Taylor for his first international goal.

Mateja Kezman then tested Taylor with a firm drive which the Birmingham goalkeeper grabbed at the second attempt.

However, against the run of play Northern Ireland levelled in the 18th minute with David Healy delivering a superb cross which was converted by James Quinn.

Healy had been released into space by a superb long ball out of defence by full-back Chris Baird.

Chris Baird helped set up Northern Ireland's equaliser
Chris Baird outjumps Serbia goalscorer Veljko Paunovic

Northern Ireland had a lucky escape in the 22nd minute when the ball feel invitingly to Dragutionovic 10 yards from goal but his weak shot was cleared by Stephen Craigan.

On the stroke of half-time, the lively Healy outfoxed Kolakovic to create a great chance for himself but goalkeeper Kovacevic blocked the effort with his legs.

Northern Ireland boss Sanchez rang the changes at half-time by making four replacements with Manchester United's Roy Carroll took over from Taylor between the posts.

Gary Hamilton, Paul McVeigh and Steve Jones were also called into the action as Wimbledon defender Mark Williams took the captain's armband in the second half.

They were rattled. It was a good performance and it's starting to get where I want us to go
Lawrie Sanchez

After a quiet opening to the second half, tempers became frayed after a late challenge from Albert Nadj on Paul McVeigh which led to Jeff Whitley squaring up to a couple of Serb players before order was restored.

A few more hefty challenges led Welsh referee Ceri Williams to hand out six yellow cards in a 20 minute period with Doherty and goalscorer Quinn among the players cautioned.

Sanchez made three further changes 12 minutes before the end with Andy Smith, Danny Sonner and Michael Hughes replacing Quinn, Whitley and Doherty.

Five minutes from time, Steve Jones claimed he should have had a penalty after tumbling in the Serb penalty area but his protests went unheeded.

Substitute Sonner just failed to connect from close range after a looping cross from the lively Jones.

Right at the death, Hamilton's goalbound snapshot was turned wide by Kovacevic.


Northern Ireland: Taylor (Carroll 46), Baird, Craigan, Williams, Capaldi, Gillespie (Jones 46), Doherty (Michael Hughes 78), Whitley (Sonner 78), Mulryne (McVeigh 46), Healy (Hamilton 46), Quinn (Smith 78).
Subs not used: Kennedy, Murdock.

Booked: Whitley, Doherty, Quinn.

Serbia & Montenegro: Banovic, Cirkovic (Markoski 83), Dragutinovic (Vitakic 46), Gavrancic, Nadj, Kezman, Paunovic (Kolakovic 69), Vukic, Trobok (Ivic 46), Petkovic, Krstajic.
Subs not used: Dudic, Djordjevic, Miroslavjevic, Kovacevic.

Booked: Nadj, Krstajic.

Attendance: 9,690.

Referee: Ceri Richards (Wales).






WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's David Oates
"A useful result and a decent performance"



SEE ALSO
Sanchez praises display
28 Apr 04  |  Northern Ireland


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