Rachel Furness was on the scoresheet once again as Northern Ireland Senior Women defeated Uzbekistan to win the third/fourth place play-off match at the 2019 Alanya Gold City Women’s Cup in Turkey.
The attacking midfielder netted her sixth goal in four games as the women in green and white defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 in a lively encounter to claim third place overall in the eight-team tournament.
The experienced Reading Ladies player scored a hat-trick in the 6-0 win over Jordan in Northern Ireland’s first group game in Turkey before netting again in the 3-1 defeat to France B and in the 4-0 victory over Kazakhstan which secured a place in the third/fourth place play-off match.
Alfie Wylie’s side scored after just two minutes in today’s game against the Uzbeks. Rachel Newborough supplied a cross from the right which was powerfully headed home by midfielder Sarah McFadden.
In the 10thminute Furness made it 2-0 with another fine effort. She followed up her sumptuous volley against Kazakhstan with a drilled shot from 22 yards.
Northern Ireland then missed a couple of half-chances, which appeared to galvanise the lively Uzbeks who came more and more into the game.
On the stroke of half-time there was a let-off for Alfie Wylie’s side when Uzbekistan put the ball in the net only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
The early part of the second half saw Northern Ireland pile on the pressure again, however Uzbekistan reduced the deficit on 66 minutes when they scored direct from a corner.
Experienced defender Ashley Hutton limped off in the 73rdminute and was replaced by Freya Holdaway – and she was immediately in the thick of it.
In the closing stages the Uzbeks put the Northern Ireland back four under extreme pressure and they hit the woodwork on 83 minutes.
Wylie’s side had to dig in to see out the game, but they managed it and secured third place overall in the process.
Northern Ireland: Jacqueline Burns, Rachel Newborough, Julie Nelson, Ashley Hutton, Demi Vance, Sarah McFadden, Rachel Furness, Kerry Montgomery, Marissa Callaghan, Simone Magill, Rebecca McKenna. Substitutes: (used) Freya Holdaway 73’, Ciara Sherwood 76’, Megan Bell 83’, Gemma McGuinness 83’.