Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh What a Night (2006 remix)

On the eve of the first anniversary of Northern Ireland's giant-killing mission against England, they have struck again, this time Spain their victims. After the disaster of Saturday's crushing defeat to Iceland, expectations were low as the crowd gathered at Windsor Park in Belfast tonight. My own prediction was 6-0 to Spain, but thankfully it wasn't to be, as Northern Ireland, in the underdog position they seem to prefer, came back twice to equalise and then took the lead, through a marvellous David Healy hat-trick.

The first half opened brightly for Northern Ireland, with good attacking runs, and the crowd (who had booed and hissed at them on Saturday) fully behind them - as we had been presented with the Best Fans award before the game. The Green and White Army were on the move. Yet, against the play, Spain got a first goal, with a move down their left, and the unmarked played scoring past Maik Taylor, who had come on as a substitute for an early injured Roy Carroll.

But the players didn't let their heads drop, and continued to put pressure on Spain, Healy getting the equaliser six minutes later. The sides were even until the break. Half time came. 1-1 - we could be happy with that.

And then the unbelieveable happened. Spain went ahead again. Was the good first half going to be wiped away and forgotten? Thankfully not, as a cheeky free kick set piece by Sammy Clinghan enabled Healy to score the equaliser. As it happened right in front of us, here's the goal captured on video:

What would happen now? Despite intense Spanish pressure, Taylor's clearance bounced twice, Healy latched on to it, and lobbed it over the keeper. 3-2 to Northern Ireland! Oh what a night! Spain continued to pile on the pressure, leading to boos and whistles - but this time aimed at the referee to blow it up, rather than at the Northern Ireland team.

And so, just as we last year beat England 1-0, this year, we manage to beat Spain, the best team in the group, 3-2.

We're not Brazil, We're Northern Ireland! Glory, Glory, Northern Ireland! It's just like watching Brazil. Stand up for the Ulstermen! Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland, we'll support you ever more!

1 comment :

  1. Absolutely fantastic!!! Im sure you had a good night at Windsor!!!

    Thanks for capturing the 2nd goal! Who needs the BBC???