Northern Ireland shock Denmark at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland saved their best until last as they ended a miserable Euro 2024 qualifying campaign on a high note with a win over Group H winners Denmark.
Second-half goals from Isaac Price and Dion Charles got Windsor Park roaring again as Northern Ireland recorded only their third win of the year, and the first against anyone other than San Marino.
The match was effectively a dead rubber – Northern Ireland's hopes of progressing to next summer’s finals were over by the summer while Denmark booked their ticket with a 2-1 win over Slovenia on Friday night – but this was a much-needed win for Michael O’Neill’s men after a testing few months.
The injury problems that have plagued them from the very start continued to the bitter end with Daniel Ballard ruled out of this one, but the young players O’Neill has had to lean on so heavily should take great encouragement from a win over the top-ranked nation in Group H.
Victory came thanks to two fine goals. On the hour, Jamal Lewis spun away from his man and ran down the left, playing the ball inside to Dion Charles who shuffled it on to Shea Charles. The Southampton man then saw the run of Price, whose shot beat Kasper Schmeichel at his near post.
Then with nine minutes left Conor McMenamin, just on as a substitute, burst down the left, beat Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen and played a low ball across goal for Dion Charles to sweep home.
At the other end, it was a good night too for Conor Hazard. O’Neill had been unhappy with how the Plymouth goalkeeper had conceded the second goal in Friday’s 4-0 loss to Finland, but the stand-in stopper came up with two big saves in the first half here, then another in stoppage time.
O’Neill had made three changes from Friday’s heavy defeat.