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Arsenal's Daniel Ballard delivers last gasp win to keep Northern Ireland U21s' Euro hopes alive



Northern Ireland's goal-scoring hero Daniel Ballard.

Northern Ireland's goal-scoring hero Daniel Ballard.

Bongarts/Getty Images

Northern Ireland's goal-scoring hero Daniel Ballard.

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).

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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.

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