Norway ease to win in Belfast
Kenny Shiel’s first game in charge of the Northern Ireland women’s national team ended in a 6-0 defeat to World Cup quarter-finalists Norway in the opening UEFA Euro Women’s 2021 qualifier at Seaview on Friday night.
Norway took the lead inside 4 minutes when Jackie Burns in the Northern Ireland goal took a heavy touch showing to much of the ball to Chelsea’s Guro Reiten and she slid the ball into the empty net.
Burns however came to her sides rescue minutes later when she denied Vilde Boa Risa after she was slipped in by Lisa-Marie Utland the keeper making a fine save with her feet to see away the danger.
Rachel Newbourough then came to her sides rescue as she made a superb last ditch block to keep out an effort from Caroline Graham Hansen as her low powerful effort looked set for the net.
However on 16 minutes it was 2-0 to the visitors when poor defending allowed Graham Hansen a clean strike on goal and she made no mistake lashing her effort low into net despite Julie Nelson’s best efforts to clear off the line.
Northern Ireland created their first chance on 21 minutes when Demi Vance whipped in a teasing cross for Simone Magill but she was beaten to the ball by quick reactions Norway keeper Cecilie Fiskerstrand.
Rachel Furness then nearly scored a screamer as her free-kick from just inside her own half went all the way through before drifting inches wide of the Norwegian upright on 26 minutes.
Norway then had two fine opportunities inside three minutes of each other when Graham Hansen met a low cross from Reiten on the right before she dragged her effort just wide of goal.
It was the impressive Graham Hansen once again who had a second bite of the cherry as she was played in by Utland but she fired her strike wide of the target when she should have tested Burns.
On 38 minutes Furness tried her luck once again from range as she skipped past Ingrid Syrstad Engen but curled her effort over the crossbar in what was a rare sight of goal for the home side.
On the stroke of half-time Norway came close to a third when Karina Saevik played a defence splitting pass into Reiten before she cut inside crashing her effort against the post as it sailed past the onlooking Burns.
Sheil’s side started the second half brightly as Magill went on a mazy run before her effort was well blocked by Maria Thorisdottir allowing the Norwegians to clear the danger.
It was the home side who created another chance when Vance whipped in an inch perfect cross onto the head of captain Sarah McFadden but she flicked it over the crossbar in what was a good period of pressure from the the girls in green.
Graham Hansen however killed the game as a contest seconds later as she danced her way around the Northern Ireland defence at ease before firing her shot across Burns and into the far corner of the net.
With 15 minutes to go the superb Graham Hansen completed her hat-trick as the Barcelona forward sneaked a low effort under Burns and into the net an unfortunate error from the keeper.
Newborough who was having an excellent game then made another superb challenge as Utland cut inside but her shot goal-wards was cut out with a fantastic sliding block.
Four then became five when Northern Ireland couldn’t clear their lines the ball striking Amalie Eikeland who was facing away from goal before rolling into the net past the helpless Burns for her very first international goal.
Eikeland then scored her second and Norways second in the final minute of the game to make it 6-0 as she got on the end of a wonderfully weighted pass from Saevik.
It was very much a night of frustration for Northern Ireland who ran themselves into the ground but Norway however showed their class to come away with all three points next up for Northern Ireland a trip to Rodney Parade to take on Wales on Tuesday.
Northern Ireland team: Burns, Newborough, Hutton, Nelson, Vance, Holdaway, McFadden, Furness, McCarron, McKenna, Magill.
Hi my names Josh Bunting I study Sports Journalism at UCFB Etihad Campus , Reporter at Sheffield Wednesday football club.