Ireland leave it late to defeat Kazakhstan

Ireland leave it late to defeat Kazakhstan

24/09/'09: Republic of Ireland 2 - 1 Kazakhstan
24th Sep 2009
World Cup Qualifer
Republic of Ireland2-1Kazakhstan
Fiona O'Sullivan 43, Stephanie Roche 87Krassykukova 63
Thursday, 24 September 2009Turners Cross, Cork

Ireland leave it late to defeat Kazakhstan

The Republic of Ireland Women's senior team defeated Kazakhstan 2-1 in Turners Cross on Thursday night in their Group 6, World Cup Qualifying encounter. Goals from Fiona O'Sullivan and Stephanie Roche ensured Ireland's first win of the campaign.

Raheny United striker Roche was Ireland's hero. They took the lead in the 43rd minute through Fiona O'Sullivan but the Irish were rocked by an astonishing strike in the 64th minute when Krassyukova scored from 30 yards against the run of play. Ireland's savior, substitute, Stephanie Roche was on hand to poke home from close range in the 87th minute to keep Ireland's dreams of World Cup qualification on track.

The Irish made a blistering start to the game and they enjoyed the majority of possession in the final third of the field, putting Kazakhstan under extreme pressure from the off.

The first real chance came after 18 minutes when a breaking ball found its way to Chelsea's Stefanie Curtis on the edge of the area but her half volley skimmed to the left of the post. Curtis was involved again two minutes later when she cut down the right wing and delivered a pin-point cross to captain, Ciara Grant who powerfully headed over from eight yards.

The Irish had the ball in the net after 28 minutes when Fiona O'Sullivan nodded beyond Irina Saratovtseva from 6 yards but the referee ruled it out for a handball against the San Francisco Storm attacker.

Noel King's side took a deserved lead in the 43rd minute when a corner from Sonya Hughes caused uncertainty in the Kazakhstan box and the powerful, Fiona O'Sullivan blasted it past the keeper to score her first competitive goal for the Republic of Ireland on her home debut.

The Irish began the second half with the same urgency as they finished the first and in the 52nd minute, the ever threatening Fiona O'Sullivan surged through the Kazakhstan defence and she played a sublime pass to Stefanie Curtis in the box as her effort beat the keeper but came back off the bar before being cleared by the defence.

Defender, Yvonne Tracy almost doubled Ireland's advantage when Stefanie Curtis floated in a corner from the left and the Arsenal star headed over the bar from six yards out.

Kazakhstan scored a shock equaliser through Yekaterina Krassyukova in the 64th minute. As Ireland pushed forward in search of a second, an attacking move broke down and with Ireland exposed at the back, Krassyukova shot from 30 yards out and her looping effort went over Emma Byrne's head and into the back of the net.

Irish manager, Noel King deployed three substitutes after 75 minutes in an effort to rescue a victory with Shannon McDonnell, Kate Taylor and Stephanie Roche coming into the fray. The three substitutes made an instant impact in an effort to break down a resilient Kazakhstan defence. Shannon McDonnell came close in the 85th minute when she tested the keeper from the right side of the box with a good effort and one minute later Kate Taylor powered an effort at goal but Saratovtseva saved comfortably.

The Irish got the winning goal in the 87th minute when Aine O'Gorman broke down the right wing and crossed to Fiona O'Sullivan who controlled well and as her shot went across the face of goal, Raheny United striker, Stephanie Roche scored her first senior goal from three yards out.

Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne, Marie Curtin, Mary Therese McDonnell, Niamh Fahy, Yvonne Tracy, Sonya Hughes, Ciara Grant (C), Jemma Connor, Aine O'Gorman, Fiona O'Sullivan, Stefanie Curtis.

Substitutes: Meabh de Burca, Diane Caldwell, Shannon McDonnel (on for Ciara Grant, 75 mins) l, Stephanie Roche (on for Stefanie Curtis, 77 mins), Lynn Bradley, Amanda Parkes, Kate Taylor (on for Sonya Hughes, 75 mins).