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Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Tuesday, 12 October 2010 17:56 UK

Euro 2012 qualifier: Faroe Islands 1-1 N Ireland

Kyle Lafferty equalises for Northern Ireland in Toftir
Kyle Lafferty equalises for Northern Ireland in Toftir

By Alvin McCaig

Northern Ireland's hopes of making the Euro 2012 finals suffered a major blow after being held by the Faroe Islands.

Kyle Lafferty and Jonny Evans went close for the visitors in the first half while Niall McGinn missed an open goal just after the break.

Christian Holst fired low past Maik Taylor for the Faroes to give the minnows a surprise lead on the hour.

Lafferty hit the bottom corner to level after 76 minutes but the hosts held on despite intense late pressure.

Northern Ireland dominated possession in the first half but failed to create clear-cut chances against a hardworking Faroes team in Toftir.

Lafferty justified his selection ahead of David Healy by providing a constant threat in attack.

The big Rangers striker was denied by Jakup Mikkelsen four times in the opening 20 minutes and came closest when the keeper tipped his 20-yard strike over the bar.

The hosts enjoyed their only spell of pressure midway through the half but Taylor easily saved efforts from Holst and Simun Samuelsen.

Evans moved up from full-back to fire narrowly wide from 30 yards before heading over from close range while under pressure from Daniel Udsen.

Gareth McAuley missed out just before the break when the full-back headed into the side-netting from an inswinging Chris Brunt cross.


The visitors should have taken the lead on 50 minutes when Steven Davis sent McGinn clear, but the Celtic winger could only find the side-netting from a tight angle after rounding Mikkelesen.

Healy replaced Warren Feeney and the substitute made an immediate impact with a low shot which had Mikkelsen at full-stretch.

Mikkelsen again thwarted Lafferty after 58 minutes when he clawed out the striker's header which was arrowing into the top corner.

The Faroes scored with their first meaning attack of the second half - Stephen Craigan's poor touch gifted possession to the Faroes and Udsen played in Holst, who wriggled free 10 yards out before shooting across Taylor and into the bottom corner.

Northern Ireland wasted two opportunities to draw level within minutes of the goal with Chris Baird and Evans heading wide from close range.

Evans sent a looping header onto the roof of the net before Northern Ireland finally converted one of their chances.

Lafferty jinked by three players on the edge of the box and played a one-two with Brunt before firing a crisp low shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Lafferty went close to netting again a minute later but he guided the ball straight at Mikkelsen from Brunt's cross.

Northern Ireland piled on the pressure in the closing stages but the Faroes defended bravely to secure a rare point.

The result sees Northern Ireland slip a place to fourth after Slovenia earned a 1-0 win in Estonia.

The match between Group C leaders Italy and Serbia in Genoa was abandoned after seven minutes due to crowd trouble.

Faroe Islands: Mikkelsen, Naes, Jacobsen, Davidsen, Gregersen, Udsen (Petersen 67), Benjaminsen, Samuelsen (Arnbjorn Hansen 78), Holst (Justinus Hansen 84), Edmundsson, Elttor. Subs not used: Thomsen, Rubeksen, Bo, Mouritsen.

Booked: Naes, Gregersen.

Goals: Holst 60.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, McAuley, Jonathan Evans, Craigan, Hughes, Baird, Davis, McGinn (C Evans 83), Brunt, Feeney (Healy 50), Lafferty. Subs not used:Tuffey, Clingan, McCann, Patterson, Gorman.

Booked: Davis.

Goals: Lafferty 76.

Referee: Cyrill Zimmermann (Switzerland)

Att: 1,921

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