Belfast Telegraph

NI women hold on to earn Romania draw

Northern Ireland women 1-1 Romania women

By Graham Luney

A Romania fightback denied Northern Ireland back-to-back victories at the Turkish Women's Cup.

Alfie Wylie's side looked on course for a win when Linfield Ladies ace Megan Bell netted her first senior international goal, but their opponents fought back and forced home an equaliser in the second half.

Northern Ireland had secured an opening 2-0 win against Kazakhstan and this was another assured performance.

The game ended on a sour note with Laura Rafferty picking up a second yellow card but Wylie's side were able to see out the final ten minutes for the draw.

Midway through the first half Bell slotted home at the second attempt after racing on to a great pass from Rachel Newborough.

After Northern Ireland's match against Kazakhstan, Romania were expected to provide a tougher test as they are 16 places higher in the World Rankings.

And 16 minutes after the restart they found the net to set up a tense finish. Resolute defending was required after Rafferty's dismissal but Northern Ireland held on to remain unbeaten in the tournament.

Their next game against Ukraine tomorrow will decide where they will feature in the final round of placement matches.

Northern Ireland will be up against the Netherlands and Norway in World Cup qualifiers in April.

Northern Ireland: Burns, Newborough, Hutton, Holdaway, Foy, Rafferty, McFadden, Sherwood, Callaghan (c), Bell, McGuinness. Subs used: Wade, Lindsay, McMaster.

Belfast Telegraph

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