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Northern Ireland stars Kyle Lafferty and Gareth McAuley find net in night of thrills and spills


Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

©INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland duo Kyle Lafferty and Gareth McAuley gave manager Michael O'Neill a welcome boost last night ahead of today's naming of the squad for next month's opening World Cup qualifier.

McAuley, who also scored in the Premier League at the weekend, was on target again, and Republic of Ireland international James McClean also scored in the 2-2 draw that saw Northampton throw up the shock of the round winning 4-3 on penalties.

Lafferty, making a rare start for Norwich City, certainly staked a claim for a regular berth opening the scoring for the Canaries against Coventry in the 25th minute. The big Fermanagh man then turned provider for Sergi Canos as Alex Neil's side eased to a 6-1 victory.

McClean equalised for West Brom right on half time and the Baggies had the boost they needed within two minutes of the re-start they were ahead.

Rickie Lambert was brought down by Nyatanga 30-yards out and Phillips swung in a delicious free kick for McAuley to plant a header into the corner for his second goal in two games.

But Northampton levelled with nine minutes left when Alex Revell smashed home after Myhill spilled Sam Hoskins' effort.

Berahino then had the chance to win it with three minutes to go but Smith saved well.

Extra time failed to separate the sides and it was left to Gorre to send Northampton through on penalties after Berahino missed and Smith saved Morrison's spot kick.

The Republic of Ireland's Shane Duffy was on target for Blackburn in the 4-3 defeat of Crewe after Extra time, while Watford were beaten 2-1 at home by Gillingham.

Belfast Telegraph