Northern Ireland got off to a fast start when they faced Scotland in the opening game and it was no different this time round. Ryan Johnson got on the end of a corner after just two minutes and powerfully headed home to make it 1-0. It was a great start for Northern Ireland against the group leaders who had taken six points from two games before last night.
The next half hour of the game was a battle. Both teams fought hard and there were little chances in the game. Conor Brennan did make a couple of good saves from Iceland half chances but both defences remained tight for the majority of the half after the goal. Ryan McLaughlin was probably Northern Ireland’s brightest player in the opening period but he couldn’t convert a second ten minutes before the break. In fact it was Iceland who made the breakthrough just after McLaughlin had a shot blocked at the other end. Aron Elís Thrándarson latched onto a loose pass and kept his cool to dispatch the equaliser low beyond Brennan.
The second half started with an early Northern Ireland corner but there was no finishing touch this time. Iceland defended well and then had the next spell of possession in the game. They didn’t really test Brennan though as the defence in front of him stood strong and put in some important tackles. Jim Magilton's men came back into the game and McLaughlin was again at the centre of anything good. He won a lot of free kicks but Northern Ireland couldn’t convert any chances.
Iceland had the better of the play in the closing stages and won a number of free kicks and corners but Northern Ireland held on and defended well in the final third. This means that Northern Ireland are currently fourth in Group 3 and will play FYR Macedonia at home in Mourneview Park on the 13th October.
You can see the goals from last night's game below.