Shane Ferguson Wondergoal Sees Northern Ireland Sink Estonia

Northern Ireland Shane Ferguson

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Northern Ireland beat Estonia 1-0 at the A. Le Coq Arena in the Estonian capital of Tallinn on Sunday night courtesy of a Shane Ferguson screamer.

The Rotherham United star came off the bench for his 50th cap for Northern Ireland and added to the occasion with a superb strike from 30 yards out.

The bullet flew past Estonian goalkeeper Matvei Igonen, who could not stop the inevitable.

The goal lit up an otherwise dull fixture between the two sides and puts Northern Ireland on two wins from two in the September international window thus far, with three wins in their last four.

Head coach Ian Baraclough made nine changes to the side that ran out 4-1 winners in an eventful fixture in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius on Thursday.

Full-backs against Estonia, Paddy McNair and Jamal Lewis, were the only survivors from the national side’s previous fixture.

The squad still included experienced individuals with Niall McGinn captain on the night and Kyle Lafferty leading the line for the Green And White Army.

Estonia started the strongest as the hosts looked to gain control of the game early on but Northern Ireland got to grips with the tempo and started to put pressure on after a while.

Kyle Lafferty came closest to breaking the deadlock for the visitors but could not put the ball past the 24-year-old Igonen.

Estonia made four changes for the second half and started the half the stronger of the two teams once again.

Baraclough made changes to counter this, taking off Lafferty and Lewis for Dion Charles and Ferguson.

Goalkeeper Trevor Carson was also replaced on the hour mark, with Conor Hazard taking his place to get 30 more minutes of international football under his belt.

Liverpool defender Conor Bradley also came on for some game time in place of Liam Donnelly.

Ferguson’s beautiful hit twelve minutes after Bradley’s substitution found the top corner of the Estonian net after the 18-year-old from Castlederg teed him up.

Hazard pulled off an impressive save to deny substitute Henri Anier, who came close several times and Northern Ireland stayed in the lead until the final whistle.

Baraclough’s side will face Switzerland on Wednesday, September 8 in their third and final game of the month – a second World Cup Qualifier of the window.

Estonia (3-1-4-2): Igonen; Luuka, Kusk, Paskotski; Kreida (Mets 45); Lilander (Puri 45), Sinyavskiy (Kirss 80), Poom, Vassiljev (C) (Kait 45); Sappinen (Anier 45), Sorga (Zenjov 76).

Northern Ireland (4-2-3-1): Carson (Hazard 63); McNair, Flanagan, Brown, Lewis (Ferguson 55); Donnelly (Bradley 63), McCalmont; Whyte, Jones, McGinn (C); Lafferty (Charles 55).

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