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Rachel Furness brings the heat, but Northern Ireland Women only draw

Northern Ireland 1-1 Czech Republic

Northern Ireland's Women picked up a well earned 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic at Mourneview Park in their UEFA Women's Euro 2017 qualifying campaign.

Sitka Chlastakova gave the Czechs a half-time lead with a rather fortunate effort 10 minutes before the break, however a Rachel Furness penalty levelled the tie in the second half.

The Czechs were marginally the better side in the early exchanges, testing goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns with some difficult balls into the box.

However the best chance fell to Furness, whose shot from a corner seemed destined to hit the back of the net only for a Czech defender to throw her body in the way allowing them to scramble the ball clear.

They then had a second chance to open the scoring from another corner, however Kerry Montgomery couldn't direct her header towards goal.

Instead it was down to a rather nice bit of luck for the visitors to open the scoring, Chlastakova cutting in from the wing and looping in a cross that evaded everybody, including Burns in goal.

Northern Ireland upped the pace as they sought the equaliser, and it came 10 minutes after the break when the dangerous Furness surged into the box and was felled by defender Petra Bartonova.

It was only fitting that Furness herself would take the penalty, coolly slotting home from the spot for a goal she deserved.

In the closing stages it looked like Northern Ireland may be the ones to take all three points as first Furness and then Marissa Callaghan forced saves from goalkeeper Barbora Votikova.

But in the end the two sides had to settle for a hard-fought draw and a point each at Mourneview Park.

Belfast Telegraph

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