Arsenal's Daniel Ballard delivers last gasp win to keep Northern Ireland U21s' Euro hopes alive
Daniel Ballard has kept Northern Ireland's hopes of making the Euro U21 Championship finals alive with a last minute winner in Iceland.
The Arsenal teenager netted the only goal of the game, heading in from a corner, to set up a potentially crucial final group game at Windsor Park on Tuesday evening, against Slovakia (kick-off 7.30pm).
It had looked like being a frustrating evening in Reykjavik for Ian Baraclough's boys, who had beaten group leaders Spain last time out as they could make any of their troublesome set-pieces count until that last minute corner.
Rory Holden, currently on loan at Barrow from Bristol City, launched the best move of the second half with a Cruyff turn and a pass up to Everton's Shayne Lavery, whose dangerous cross into the box was well defended.
NI also had a penalty appeal during the second period when Jordan Thompson was brought down but the shouts were waved away by referee Jens Maae (Denmark).
Their hosts weren't without their own threat and almost took the lead on the half-time whistle but Ballard cleared it off the goal-line, setting the stage for his own late winner.
Northern Ireland: Hazard, McDonagh, Ballard, Donelly, Bird, Thompson, Gorman, Burns, Smyth, Lavery, Rory Holden.
Subs: Sykes (Gorman 74), Roy (Holden 77), Parkhouse (Lavery 82).
Unused: Dunne, Amos, Dunwoody, McClean.
Belfast Telegraph Digital