Northern Eire survived a second-half scare to safe a significant 4-1 win in opposition to Lithuania and increase their probabilities in World Cup Qualifying.
There have been considerations earlier than the sport as Ian Baraclough needed to cope with out a variety of first-team gamers, however his aspect produced a wonderful efficiency in Vilnius. Northern Eire took the lead inside 20 minutes as Dan Ballard turned residence Conor Washington’s very good cross.
However the drama of the sport got here within the second half, beginning when the guests have been awarded a penalty shortly after the break. Linas Megelaitis was penalised for a blatant handball after Michael Smith’s fierce shot, with Washington powering the penalty residence after a VAR evaluate (52).
However Lithuania pulled a purpose again virtually instantly as Rolandas Baravykas (54) curled residence an outstanding effort. It appeared just like the comeback was on too when the hosts have been awarded their very own penalty following a prolonged VAR evaluate, however Bailey Peacock-Farrell was the hero of the hour as he saved Arvydas Novikovas’ spot kick.
It proved to be the turning level within the sport as Northern Eire pulled additional forward. It was one other faucet in, this time for Shane Lavery (67) as he netted his first purpose for his nation. One other penalty then rounded proceedings off too as Steven Davis was fouled by Edgaras Utkus, who ought to have been despatched off within the first half.
Paddy McNair – who was booked for his foul to provide away Lithuania’s penalty and can miss the subsequent World Cup Qualifier in opposition to Switzerland – transformed the spot kick (82) and spherical off the must-win victory.
The victory takes Northern Eire onto 4 factors in Group C, simply two behind Switzerland, who journey to Windsor Park subsequent week, reside on Sky Sports activities.
Northern Eire are again in motion on Sunday as they face Estonia in a global pleasant, reside on Sky Sports activities; kick-off 5pm. They’ll spherical off the September break with one other World Cup qualifier in opposition to Switzerland at Windsor Park on Wednesday, additionally reside on Sky Sports activities; kick-of 7.45pm.