Faroe Islands 1 - 4 Republic of IrelandTue, Oct 16 2012
They certainly took their time to get going, but eventually the Republic of Ireland rallied to beat the Faroe Islands 4-1 in this crucial World Cup qualifier in Torshavn.
Goals from Marc Wilson, Jonathan Walters and Darren O’Dea, as well as an own goal from Pol Johannus Justinussen, were enough to see off a Faroese team that proved difficult to break down for long periods of the game, especially in the first half.
The home side started the game the stronger, trying to expose Ireland’s inexperience on artificial pitches by hitting balls down the channels.
The Irish defence held strong though, and had a number of excellent chances themselves, namely headers from close range from Keith Andrews and Walters that both sailed agonisingly close past the post and crossbar.
The first 45 was largely a non-event however, and things really only got going once the second half kicked in.
Ireland finally broke the deadlock just a minute after the restart. Wilson, who had galloped forward from the left back position, cut inside onto his right foot and smashed a shot past the goalkeeper to score his first goal for his country and send them into a lead.
Ireland then made it 2-0 seven minutes later as Walters met a ball that was whipped in from the left side with a majestic header that was expertly steered into the back of the net.
The Boys in Green then made a potentially fatal error. They dropped deep in a bid to preserve their lead, rather than try to increase it. That plan, as it so often does, backfired, when Hallur Hannson headed in Jonas Tor Naes’ cross from the right to peg one back for the Faroe Islands.
To give credit to Ireland though, they responded in the best way possible – with a goal. Captain Robbie Keane initiated a scintillating attacking move with an intelligent back heel to Aiden McGeady, who carried the ball forward before slipping it out wide to Walters. Walters then proceeded to cross the ball into the box, which was bundled over the line by the unfortunate Faroese defender Pol Johannus Justinussen.
The game then petered out, the Faroes knew they were beaten just as Ireland knew they had the three points in the bag.
But just to sweeten the deal, Darren O’Dea scored his first international goal in the 89th minute, when he met Aiden McGeady’s corner kick with a bullet-like header.
Faroe Islands: Gunnar Nielsen, Jonas Tor Naes, Pol Johannus Justinussen, Odmar Faero, Rogvi Baldvinsson (Erling Jacobsen, 60), Christian Holst, Hallur Hansson, Frodi Benjaminsen, Daniel Udsen, Simun Samuelsen, Joan Simun Edmundsson (Hjalgrim Elltor, 80)
Subs not used: Gilli Sorensen, Klaemint Olsen,Jakup Mikkelsen, Karl Lokin, Rene Joensen, Kristian Joensen, Rogvi Holm, Arnbjorn Hansen, Jan Ellingsgaard, Kaj Leo Bartalsstovu
Republic of Ireland: Kieren Westwood, Marc Wilson, John O'Shea, Darren O'Dea, Seamus Coleman, Aiden McGeady, James McCarthy, Robbie Brady (Simon Cox, 45), Keith Andrews (David Meyler, 91), Jonathan Walters, Robbie Keane (Shane Long, 80)
Subs not used: Stephen Ward, Darren Randolph, Paul McShane, Stephen Kelly, David Forde, Keith Fahey
Man of the match: James McCarthy
Alan is a freelance sports journalist based in Cork. He joined the ExtraTime team back in the summer of 2012, and covers all things football-related from the Rebel County - whether it be at Turner's Cross or St. Colman's Park. Follow him on Twitter @AlanFeehely