Skip Navigation




Release Date: 15/08/2012

NORTHERN Ireland surrendered an early lead before eventually settling for an equal share of six goals with Finland in this entertaining Vauxhall International Friendly at Windsor Park.

Michael O'Neill's side got off to a blistering start with two goals inside the opening 20 minutes.

Shane Ferguson kicked things off on seven minutes with a left-foot volley from just inside the area after connecting with a Dean Shiels cross.

Shiels, later named Man-of-the-Match, also played a crucial role on 19 minutes when Kyle Lafferty doubled Northern Ireland's lead after getting on the end of another cross to turn the ball into the far corner.

But within five minutes a bouncing Windsor Park was reduced to silence as Finland fought back to score twice in quick succession.

First, on 22 minutes, Tim Sparv was given a little too much space in front of goal to nod a Kari Arkivuo cross beyond Roy Carroll.

And two minutes later a misjudged Chris Brunt backpass let the unmarked Teemu Pukki in to turn and slip home the equaliser.

After such a bright opening it was perhaps no surprise that the action in front of goal dried up somewhat although Finland did, on occasion, present moments of danger.

Northern Ireland came racing out of the blocks early in the second half with Lafferty forcing a low save from 'keeper Niki Maenpaa after four minutes while, not long after, the FC Sion man played the ball in for Shiels following a goalkeeping error only for Niklas Moisander to clear the danger.

The visitors really should have moved in front with just over a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when Riku Riski waltzed through the defence to clip the ball over Lee Camp, a half-time substitution for Carroll, only for Gareth McAuley to scoop it off the line.

Unfortunately that proved to be little more than a brief stay of execution.

Just four minutes later Toni Kolehmainen was brought down by Ryan McGivern on the edge of the box and from the resultant free-kick Perparim Hetemaj unleashed a superb shot which thundered in off the underside of the bar. 

However, with six minutes remaining, Northern Ireland grabbed their third goal to earn the draw their efforts deserved.

Steven Davis created the opportunity when he jinked his way through the defence to play Martin Paterson into the area.

The Burnley man looked destined to finish off the move only to be upended by Joona Toivio - and from the resultant spot-kick he confidently sent Maenpaa the wrong way with an assured delivery.

Northern Ireland: Carroll, Hodson, Cathcart, McAuley, McGivern, Brunt, Baird, Davis, Ferguson, Shiels, K. Lafferty subs Camp (replaced Carroll 46), McPake (not used), Paterson (replaced K. Lafferty 63), Little, D. Lafferty (not used), Clingan (not used), Grigg (not used), Norwood (replaced Hodson 84), Carson (replaced Ferguson 64), Ward (replaced Brunt 46), Mannus (not used)

Finland: Maenpaa, Uronen, Toivio, Arkivuo, Moisander, R. Eremenko, Hamalainen, Sparv, A. Eremenko, Pukki, Kuqi subs Sillanpaa (not used), Ojala (not used), Vayrynen (not used), Hetemaj (replaced A. Eremenko 69), Furuholm (not used), Riski (replced Pukki 46), Halsti (not used), Sjolund (replaced Kuqi 84), Porokara (not used), Kolehmainen (replaced Hamalainen 69)

Referee: R. Liesveld (Netherlands)


« Go Back

  • Northern Ireland v. Finland 15-08-12

    Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal with Dean Shiels

    Picture: Jonathan Porter/

  • Northern Ireland v. Finland 15-08-12

    Martin Paterson shows his delight

    Picture: Jonathan Porter/

  • Northern Ireland v. Finland 15-08-12

    Martin Paterson slots home the penalty which secured a draw for Northern Ireland

    Picture: Darren Kidd/

  • Northern Ireland v. Finland 15-08-12

    The starting XI

    Picture: Jonathan Porter/

Enter your NI Fans username and password to sign-in.

Forgotten your password?