Northern Ireland’s senior women’s team secured a 1-1 draw with Hungary Women in Belfast this evening.
A superb second half strike from Danielle Maxwell earned a point for Tanya Oxtoby’s side after Hungary had taken the lead in the UEFA Women’s Nations League encounter just before the hour mark.
Following their last-gasp 3-2 defeat to the Hungarians on Friday evening, Northern Ireland were determined to bounce back, but Hungary again proved to be tricky and strong opponents.
Tanya Oxtoby made five changes to her team for the League B Group 1 contest at Seaview, while the Hungarians stuck with the 11 who started in Gyor.
With the wind at their backs, Hungary created more chances in the first half, and Northern Ireland were a tad sluggish.
Lively Hungary midfielder Dora Zeller steered a shot wide before striker Emoke Papai had a couple of shots saved in quick succession by Northern Ireland keeper Shannon Turner.
The visitors kept pushing Northern Ireland back and both Zeller and Papai had further efforts before Turner thwarted Viktoria Szabo and Evelin Fenyvesi.
Hungary striker Zsanett Kajan shot wide and Turner held on to another Fenyvesi shot.
On 34 minutes Northern Ireland had their best chance of the first half. Demi Vance swung in a corner which hit captain Nadene Caldwell and fell to Sarah McFadden whose shot on the turn went inches past the post.
Hungary keeper Reka Szocs raced off her line to smother a Simone Magill shot, however Magill was in an offside position when she received the ball.
Northern Ireland had more energy after the break, but it was Hungary who took the lead on 56 minutes, Zeller scoring direct from a corner.
On 74 minutes player of the match Maxwell cut in down the left and fired a shot in from distance which drifted just wide of the upright.
Six minutes later Maxwell was on target, however. Magill battled for the ball and teed her up and Maxwell blasted the ball into the top of the net from just inside the area. It was a cracking goal and her first at senior international level.
In the closing stages McFadden played a glorious pass forward to Magill, who had run in behind the Hungarian defence, however the striker scooped her shot wide.
Substitute Joely Andrews then fed the ball to fellow sub Marissa Callaghan who in turn slipped it to Magill, however Szocs managed to push her shot away - and Northern Ireland had to settle for the draw.
Hungary remain second in the League B Group 1 table with five points from four games, while Northern Ireland are third with four points from four. Republic of Ireland won the group this evening with a 1-0 victory away to Albania.
Northern Ireland’s final two games in the group are away to Albania, who have just one point on the board to date, and at home to the Republic. They will face the Albanians on 1 December and the Republic in Belfast on 5 December to complete their Nations League campaign.
Northern Ireland: Shannon Turner, Caragh Hamilton, Demi Vance, Sarah McFadden, Laura Rafferty, Nadene Caldwell (captain), Chloe McCarron, Megan Bell, Simone Magill, Danielle Maxwell, Lauren Wade.
Substitutes: (used) Marissa Callaghan, Rebecca McKenna, Joely Andrews; (unused) Rachael Norney, Lilie Woods, Ellie Mason, Rachel Furness, Caitlin McGuinness, Kelsie Burrows, Emily Wilson, Kerry Beattie, Abbie Magee.
Hungary: Reka Szocs, Boglarka Vida, Diana Nemeth, Laura Kovacs, Hanna Nemeth, Evelin Fenyvesi, Dora Zeller, Henrietta Csiszar, Emoke Papai, Zsanett Kajan, Viktoria Szabo.
Substitutes: Agnes Pongracz (GK), Laura Palakovics, Sara Pusztai, Csilla Savanya, Dora Sule, Virag Nagy, Fanni Nagy, Fanni Vachter, Kinga Sikler, Bernadett Zagor.