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Faroe Islands frustrate Northern Ireland

Faroe Islands 1-1 Northern Ireland
Some inspired goalkeeping meant Northern Ireland had to settle for a point having come from behind with Kyle Lafferty's equaliser.

The Faroe Islands secured their first point in qualifying
The Faroe Islands secured their first point in qualifying ©Bongarts

The Faroe Islands withstood a prolonged period of pressure from Northern Ireland to claim their first point in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group C.

Having lost their four previous group fixtures, the Faroe Islands were grateful for the agility of 40-year-old goalkeeper Jákup Mikkelsen before Christian Lamhauge Holst shocked the visitors on the hour. Kyle Lafferty equalised 14 minutes from time but despite a late onslaught, Northern Ireland had to settle for a draw which leaves them on five points from three matches.

Lafferty, one of two changes to the team which held Italy on Friday, drew the first of two impressive saves from Mikkelsen on 18 minutes with a dipping long-range shot. The Faroe Islands' only first-half effort of note came when Símun Samuelsen shot straight at Maik Taylor, after which Jonny Evans went close twice. Gareth McAuley then headed into the side netting as Northern Ireland finished the half in the ascendancy. The visitors were soon forcing the issue after the restart as well, and Steven Davis's measured pass enabled McGinn to round Mikkelsen only to hit the wrong side of the net.

David Healy, on as a substitute, span on the edge of the area and drew another save from Mikkelsen, before Lafferty resumed his private battle with the keeper, who somehow clawed a powerful header away from the top corner. Northern Ireland were punished on the hour when Stephen Craigan's heavy touch allowed Daniel Udsen to steal in and feed Holst, who turned past Aaron Hughes and beat Taylor.

Cue a period of sustained Northern Ireland pressure which paid off 14 minutes from time, Lafferty traversing across the face of the penalty area before his low shot went in off Mikkelsen's left-hand upright. Northern Ireland were unable to force a winner, though, and resume their campaign in Serbia on 25 March while the Faroe Islands do not play again until Slovenia and Estonia visit in June.