Northern Ireland Senior Women lived up to their favourites tag as they comfortably defeated Faroe Islands 6-0 in a UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 qualifier in Torshavn this evening.
It was a fourth seeds (NIR) v fifth seeds (FRO) clash in Qualifying Group C but an energised Northern Ireland showed they are on the rise under Kenny Shiels with a commanding performance.
Lauren Wade and Simone Magill both helped themselves to doubles, while Rachel Furness and Kirsty McGuinness also got on the scoresheet.
Northern Ireland were three up within half an hour – and they dominated the game.
Captain Sarah McFadden and Nadene Caldwell, back in the side after a lengthy sojourn, both had strikes at goal before fellow midfielder Furness, who had earlier hit the woodwork, opened the scoring with a left foot thunderbolt on 19 minutes.
Then striker Magill doubled the lead with a tidy finish just five minutes later. Winger Wade hit the woodwork with a rasping drive and Magill was on hand to steer in the rebound.
Shortly after that Wade got in on the act, cutting in from the right to smash the ball into the bottom corner, making it 3-0 to Northern Ireland in the 27th minute.
The prolific McGuinness, playing her first match for Northern Ireland in over two years, added the fourth 11 minutes later with another neat effort. Magill slipped the ball to her inside the area and she clipped it into the net.
As the first half drew to a close Demi Vance had a couple efforts saved by Faroes keeper Eydgerd Mikkelsen, while Furness also had a shot blocked.
Just after the break Wade’s effort was saved by Mikkelsen before midfielder Chloe McCarron swept a shot wide and the keeper also kept out a Magill shot.
However, Northern Ireland extended their lead on 56 minutes. McCarron floated in a free-kick which was headed on by Furness to Wade and she provided the finish.
Down the other end Sevdal had a shot blocked before normal service resumed and Northern Ireland continued to boss the match.
Substitute Joely Andrews, making her senior debut, had an effort blocked before Wade missed the target and then her replacement, Caragh Milligan, steered an effort wide.
Magill grabbed her second of the game, and Northern Ireland’s sixth, on 90 minutes. McCarron delivered the ball towards goal and the striker headed it into the net from six yards out.
The win means Northern Ireland have leapfrogged Belarus to move up to third in the Group C table. Their next qualifier is another must-win away to Belarus on 27 October. Games at home to Belarus on 27 November and the Faroese on 1 December will complete their Group C qualification campaign.
Northern Ireland: Jackie Burns, Demi Vance, Julie Nelson, Ashley Hutton, Sarah McFadden (captain), Chloe McCarron, Rachel Furness, Nadene Caldwell, Kirsty McGuinness, Simone Magill, Lauren Wade. Substitutes: (used) Samantha Kelly, Joely Andrews, Caragh Milligan; (unused) Lauren Perry (GK), Rachel Newborough, Abbie Magee, Toni-Leigh Finnegan, Kerry Beattie, Rebecca McKenna.
Faroe Islands: Eydgerd Mikkelsen, Elisabeth Vang, Birita Ryan, Margunn Lindholm, Heidi Sevdal, Asla Johannesen (captain), Kara Djurhuus, Julia Mortensen, Evi A Lakjuni, Sanna Jacobsen, Jacoba Langgaard. Substitutes: Oluva Joensen (GK), Olga Olsen (GK), Marita Fridriksmork, Mona Rasmusdottir, Jensa Kannuberg Torolvsdottir, Unn Hvidbro, Sara Samson Lamhauge, Sarita Mittfoss, Lea Lisberg.