Northern Ireland’s senior women’s team rattled nine goals past North Macedonia in the second part of their World Cup qualifiers double header.
Kenny Shiels’ side were superb once again as they strolled to a 9-0 victory at Seaview this evening, following on from their record-breaking 11-0 victory over the same opposition in Skopje on Thursday.
They claimed another three points in European Qualifying Group D of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 qualifiers in front of 2600 fans in north Belfast.
Kirsty McGuinness grabbed a hat-trick, Rachel Furness notched a record-breaking double, Rebecca Holloway also scored two and Simone Magill and Kerry Beattie were on target as well in the emphatic win.
Northern Ireland started with the same eleven who took to the field in Skopje, while North Macedonia made three changes to their starting eleven.
Magill had the ball in the net after 10 minutes. However, her close range effort, which followed a slick move involving Demi Vance and McGuinness, was ruled out for offside.
Moments later Furness produced an excellent defence-splitting pass to McGuinness and she ran on and slotted the ball in off the far post to make it 1-0.
Lauren Wade drilled a shot over the bar before Northern Ireland captain Marissa Callaghan blasted a shot just wide of the upright on 18 minutes.
Furness had a header cleared off the line by a North Macedonia defender as Northern Ireland continued to push forward.
Holloway made it two on the half-hour mark. Callaghan played the ball forward to Magill who slipped it into Holloway’s path and she fired the ball into the top corner from 30 yards. It was a fine hit.
The lively Magill had a header saved on the line before she set up Furness for the third goal.
The midfielder drilled the ball home from 20 yards to break David Healy’s goalscoring record for Northern Ireland. It was her 37th goal for her country.
McGuinness notched her second with a sublime finish. Magill provided the lay-off once again as the winger strode forward down the left and she pinged the ball into the top corner from an angle to make it 4-0.
Wade twisted and turned inside the area and got a shot away, however her effort was snuffed out by North Macedonia keeper Magdalena Lekovska.
Holloway crossed for Wade to tuck the ball into the net on the stroke of half-time, however her effort was ruled out. Holloway was adjudged to have drifted offside in the build-up.
Fifteen seconds into the second half Wade missed a good opportunity, blasting a shot over the top from close range, and McGuinness wriggled free from her marker but her low shot was pushed away by the keeper.
Magill flicked a header on to the bar, Furness curled a shot wide and then Magill was the provider once again as Northern Ireland scored their fifth. She played the ball across the face of goal for McGuinness to slot the ball home and complete her hat-trick in the 62nd minute.
A minute later Holloway grabbed her second. Wade fired in a great cross down the right and Holloway was on hand at the back post to steer the ball into the net.
Magill produced a lovely piece of skill to bamboozle her marker, however her snapshot drifted just wide of the post.
But she finally got the goal she deserved in the 74th minute. Vance played the ball to the striker who cleverly slipped past a couple of markers and slotted the ball into the bottom corner. It was a lovely goal to make it 7-0.
Substitute Kerry Beattie played in Magill and she blasted her shot wide, and Northern Ireland got goal number eight shortly after. Wade delivered a superb ball to the back post and Furness headed in her second of the night – to extend her goalscoring record.
Right at the death a Wade cross was spilled by the keeper and Beattie was on hand to score her first goal at senior international level and complete the rout.
The win puts Northern Ireland second in the Group D table behind England, although near rivals Austria are also expected to clock up the goals when they play their game in hand against Luxembourg tomorrow night.
Northern Ireland: Jackie Burns, Rebecca McKenna, Demi Vance, Sarah McFadden, Julie Nelson, Rebecca Holloway, Marissa Callaghan (captain), Rachel Furness, Simone Magill, Lauren Wade, Kirsty McGuinness. Substitutes: (used) Joely Andrews, Ciara Watling, Louise McDaniel, Kerry Beattie, Caitlin McGuinness; (unused) Becky Flaherty, Maddy Harvey-Clifford, Chloe McCarron, Kelsie Burrows, Rachel McLaren, Nadene Caldwell, Caragh Hamilton.
North Macedonia: Magdalena Lekovska, Ane Boseska, Katerina Mileska (captain), Elma Shemsovikj, Ulza Maksuti, Hava Mustafa, Afrodita Salihi, Elena Petrovska, Teodora Jankovska, Kristina Petrushevska, Ana Milchevska. Substitutes: Verica Kolevska (GK), Kristina Pavlovska (GK), Teodora Giorgjevska, Sara Kolarovska, Aleksandra Markovska, Sara Husein, Jana Chubrinovska, Sara Velkova, Viktorija Nedeva, Hristina Joshevska, Radica Choneva, Elena Paneska.