Release Date: 10/10/2012
NORTHERN Ireland U19s opened their UEFA European Championship qualifying campaign with a credible draw with the Czech Republic at Stangmore Park.
Stephen Robinson's side fell behind on the hour to a Dominik Mašek finish after he knocked home the rebound from Aleš Čermák's initial effort.
But they levelled just four minutes later through Joey Jones, currently with Leicester City, who got his head to a David Morgan corner to direct the ball beyond Czech 'keeper Lukáš Zima.
It was no more than Northern Ireland deserved after an encouraging performance.
Indeed, they might have taken an early lead when Glenavon's Andrew Mitchell came close within the opening 20 minutes.
At the other end, Matej Hybl tested Northern Ireland 'keeper Gareth Deane later in the first half while Mitchell also had promising efforts either side of the break.
In the other Group Four game Greece and Moldova shared the points in a scoreless draw at Mourneview Park.
Northern Ireland: Deane, McLaughlin, Conlan, Sendles-White, McNally, Morgan, Duffy, Wilson, McElroy, Jones, Mitchell subs Johns (not used), McCullough (not used), Barton (not used), Clarke (not used), Bell (replaced Duffy 81), McEneff (replaced Wilson 69), McMurray (replaced Mitchell 57)
The Under-19s continue their campaign on Friday night against Greece at Stangmore Park (7pm) while the Czech Republic take on Moldova at Shamrock Park earlier in the afternoon (2pm).
The group concludes on Monday 15th while Moldova v. Northern Ireland at Shamrock Park and Greece v. Czech Republic at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Both games kick-off at 12pm.
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