Captain McGuinness scores as Northern Ireland put four past LatviaNorthern Ireland beat Latvia 4-0 in World Cup qualifying in their first match at the National Stadium at Windsor Park in nine years.
Sarah McFadden headed against the woodwork but Latvia held the hosts at the break.
However Louise McDaniel scored early in the second half and Kirsty McGuinness, captain on her 50th cap, added a second on 65 minutes.
Marissa Callaghan hit the third before a late Rachel Furness penalty.
As it happened – relive the key action as NI defeat LatviaNorthern Ireland’s senior women were playing at the National Stadium for only the third time, and the first since a 2-0 defeat by Belgium in September 2012.
Latvia, who lost 8-1 to Austria in their opening game, frustrated the hosts but the second-half goals by McDaniel, who was the first women to score in a major finals for NI when she netted in the Under-19 Euros in 2017, McGuinness, Callaghan and Furness maintained NI’s perfect start to qualifying.
NI sloppy in first halfIn front of a crowd of 4,079, it was a fast and frantic start with both sides looking to take advantage of Windsor Park’s expansive pitch.
Furness’ flick found McGuinness, whose cross was inches away from connecting with Kerry Beattie and, just like against Luxembourg on Friday, Northern Ireland’s prowess from corners came to the fore when McFadden headed over on six minutes, and Lauren Wade’s dipping long-range effort soon followed.
Latvia posed far more of a threat than Luxembourg on Friday, and while Karline Miksone’s ambitious effort was well over, the hosts were caught at the back and Olga Sevcova forced Jackie Burns into a smart save with her feet in the first clear-cut chance of the match.
Just over 4,000 fans watched Northern Ireland’s return to Windsor ParkThe hosts began to dominate the ball from the half-hour mark but lacked the clinical touch that has served them so well in recent games, with several loose touches and passes letting them down at the final moment.
Anastasjia Rocane almost turned Wade’s cross into her own net and McDaniel lobbed over, before McFadden’s looping header dropped on to the crossbar
Then, in injury time, Wade was played through by Furness and with the goal gaping, her effort on her weaker right foot trickled wide.
McDaniel goal lifts NINorthern Ireland came flying out of the traps from the restart, and Windsor Park erupted on 48 minutes when McDaniel latched on to a loose ball in the area to fire a brilliant effort into the top corner and net her first international goal.
McGuinness then went close, followed by two chances for Wade, one header which dropped on to the roof of the net before Enika-Anna Vaivode turned the winger’s effort away.
However NI got the second goal they were craving on 65 minutes when McGuinness latched on to a through ball from Callaghan to tuck home her 10th Northern Ireland goal from a tight angle.
The pressure from the green shirts kept coming, with McDaniel tapping home from close range but Callaghan was flagged offside in the build-up, and Furness powered a header over from substitute Rebecca McKenna’s delivery.
‘I couldn’t have written it any better’ – McGuinness savours goal on 50th appearance Callaghan made it three on when she bundled home a brilliant Demi Vance cross from close range on 78 minutes, and the midfielder was involved again moments later when her shot hit the arm of Miksone and referee Esther Staubli pointed to the spot.
Furness, who hit the post with a penalty against Luxembourg on Friday, calmly converted as the hosts finally made their domination count.
Callaghan forced another good save from Vaivode in injury time, but Northern Ireland made it two wins from two to get off to the perfect start in their bid to reach a maiden World Cup finals.
After a frustrating start it was a professional and slick second-half performance from Kenny Shiels’ side, with McFadden and McDaniel putting in stand-out performances as NI gear up for two vital October qualifiers with England and Austria.
Line-upsN Ireland WomFormation 3-1-4-2
1Burns4McFadden3Vance17RaffertySubstituted forBurrowsat 83’minutes7McCarron9WadeSubstituted forHamiltonat 71’minutes18McDaniel8Callaghan11McGuinnessSubstituted forMaxwellat 84’minutes21BeattieSubstituted forMcKennaat 61’minutes10FurnessBooked at 19minsSubstituted forWatlingat 84’minutesSubstitutes2McKenna5Nelson6Holloway12Flaherty13Burrows14McGuinness15Hamilton16Caldwell19Wilson20Maxwell22Watling23Harvey-CliffordLatvia WomenFormation 4-2-3-1
23Vaivode13VoitaneSubstituted forBrahmaneat 90’minutes22Gergeleziu10Rocane2TumaneSubstituted forGirzdaat 90’minutes19MiksoneBooked at 81mins6LubinaBooked at 90minsSubstituted forGarancaat 90+1’minutes8Zaicikova11FedotovaSubstituted forBalicevaat 52’minutes14SevcovaBooked at 88mins9SenbergaSubstituted forValakaat 63’minutesSubstitutes1Sklemenova3Lodzina4Vitmore5Girzda7Sondore12Sinutkina15Baliceva16Freidenfelde17Garanca18Valaka20Brahmane21BuklovskaLive TextMatch ends, Northern Ireland Women 4, Latvia Women 0.
Second Half ends, Northern Ireland Women 4, Latvia Women 0.
Attempt missed. Ciara Watling (Northern Ireland Women) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Demi Vance with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Northern Ireland Women. Conceded by Sofija Gergeleziu.
Attempt missed. Marissa Callaghan (Northern Ireland Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Caragh Hamilton.
Attempt saved. Marissa Callaghan (Northern Ireland Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Rebecca McKenna.
Substitution, Latvia Women. Sofija Garanca replaces Arta Luize Lubina.
Substitution, Latvia Women. Kristine Girzda replaces Ligita Tumane.
Substitution, Latvia Women. Nikola Brahmane replaces Sandra Voitane because of an injury.
Arta Luize Lubina (Latvia Women) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Olga Sevcova (Latvia Women) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Caragh Hamilton (Northern Ireland Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Olga Sevcova (Latvia Women).
Substitution, Northern Ireland Women. Ciara Watling replaces Rachel Furness.
Substitution, Northern Ireland Women. Danielle Maxwell replaces Kirsty McGuinness.
Substitution, Northern Ireland Women. Kelsie Burrows replaces Laura Rafferty.
Goal! Northern Ireland Women 4, Latvia Women 0. Rachel Furness (Northern Ireland Women) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Karlina Miksone (Latvia Women) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.
Penalty conceded by Karlina Miksone (Latvia Women) with a hand ball in the penalty area.
Attempt blocked. Marissa Callaghan (Northern Ireland Women) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kirsty McGuinness.