herald

Sunday 22 April 2018

North burnt by Turkey after a costly foul-up

A solitary moment of madness cost Northern Ireland a battling draw in Adana as Roy Carroll and Chris Baird gifted Turkey a 1-0 win.

Michael O'Neill's side were outclassed in terms of talent but had it not been for an unforgivable lack of concentration at the back, their hard work and resilience would have spared yet another friendly defeat.

Just seconds before the break, goalkeeper Carroll and defender Baird suffered a dreadful lack of communication, both standing off as Mevlut Erdinc nipped in to touch Bilal Kisa's chip over the line. The visitors dug deep to ensure they did not fall further behind – Baird responding creditably after his error and Jonny Evans impressive in repelling everything Turkey threw his way.

The home side produced the first real chance, Kisa getting in behind the defence and working Carroll with a decent effort.

The pressure was building quickly and only a pair of goal line clearances saved Northern Ireland in the 10th minute.

After half an hour, Northern Ireland even managed a rare foray into opposition territory.

New York Red Bulls midfielder Jonny Steele was handed a hard-won debut in the 67th minute, with McGinn making way.

There was a hint that the visitors might nick something in the closing minutes but the equaliser did not materialise.

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