Wales 1 Northern Ireland 1: Simon Church the Saviour for Hosts in Cardiff
Substitute Simon Church held his nerve to transform an 89th-minute penalty as Wales rallied to have a 1-1 draw against fellow Euro 2016 qualifiers Northern Ireland in a sodden Cardiff City Stadium.
Craig Cathcart looked set is the unlikely hero for that visitors on Thursday, using the defender’s second goal in three worldwide appearances smashing the deadlock after an hour within the Welsh capital.
Without the expertise of Gareth Bale, who’d remained in Madrid following discussions between club and country, Wales battled to interrupt lower a dogged visiting defence inside a fight between two nations get yourself ready for their debuts in the European Championship.
However, Church scored in the place to deny Northern Ireland their first make an impression on Wales in eight conferences, the forward slotting home after he’d been fouled within the area by Gareth McAuley.
Both teams continue their build-as much as Euro 2016 on Monday, with Wales going to play Ukraine and Northern Ireland hosting Slovenia.
The lack of Bale, in addition to key midfielder Aaron Ramsey, saw Chris Coleman’s side struggle to find away out past a Northern Ireland team that conceded just eight goals in qualifying from Group F.
Joe Ledley had an earlier chance to check visiting goalie Michael McGovern, however the Very Palace midfielder opted to square the ball to team-mate Tom Lawrence, instead of shooting.
McGovern was finally forced to create a save within the 20th minute, turning aside a minimal free-kick from David Cotterill – whose middle names include George Best – that collected pace from the wet surface.
George Johnson also were built with a curling shot blocked by Cathcart, with Mike Vokes failing to obtain a header on the right track in the resulting corner.
Northern Ireland – who handed a debut to Conor Washington – barely threatened prior to the break. Defender Paddy McNair’s ambitious lengthy-range drive Body which threatened the spectators rather from the internet – was the visitors’ only shot at goal within the first forty-five minutes.
Wales manager Coleman switched goalkeepers at half-time, removing Wayne Hennessey to hands an worldwide debut to Danny Ward.
The brand new boy had the opportunity to make an earlier save from Kyle Lafferty, even though the forward’s effort was aimed straight in the Liverpool player.
But Ward needed to select the ball from his internet around the hour mark. A brief corner permitted McNair to drift more than a mix and, with Wales dithering in their own area, Cathcart required the opportunity to swivel on the loose ball and fire Northern Ireland into an unlikely lead.
The solitary goal looked set to become enough for Michael O’Neill’s team, just for the otherwise excellent McAuley to create an ill-judged challenge late on. Church grabbed the opportunity to draw Wales level, meaning honours finished even.