Player Ratings: Northern Ireland 2-0 Faroe Islands

Sports Mole looks at who impressed during Northern Ireland's 2-0 victory over the Faroe Islands at Windsor Park this evening.

Northern Ireland made it two wins from two in their Euro 2016 Group F qualifying campaign courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Faroe Islands at Windsor Park.

Gareth McAuley fired his side ahead early on in Belfast, ghosting in at the back post unmarked to tap the ball home, before Kyle Lafferty extended the lead shortly after with a cool finish inside the area.

The visitors were gifted an opportunity to pull a goal back from the penalty spot, only for Roy Carroll to keep out Frodi Benjaminsen's effort.

Despite the Green and White Army being unable to add to their advantage in a somewhat quiet second half, they managed to see out the victory to climb to the top of the early standings.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at how the 90 minutes of action unfolded.


Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill on the touchline during the World Cup qualifier against Portugal on September 6, 2013© Getty Images

NORTHERN IRELAND

Goal

Roy Carroll: Kept out Benjaminsen's penalty with his first meaningful touch of the game. Did not have a single save to make before or after that set piece. (8/10)

Defence

Conor McLaughlin: His terrible second-half miss aside, the right-back provided a constant flow of attacking moves down his channel, running himself into the ground. (8/10)

Gareth McAuley: Bagged just his fifth international goal in a career that spells nine years at this level. Withdrawn shortly before the hour having failed to shake off a knock. (7/10)

Aaron Hughes: This is probably the quietest game of football the Brighton & Hove Albion man has ever played in. Had next to nothing to do throughout, but the clean sheet is all that counts. (7/10)

Shane Ferguson: Much like his teammate on the opposite flank, Ferguson spent the entirety of the contest in the attacking third, supplying cross after cross into the area. (8/10)

Midfield

Niall McGinn: His man-of-the-match performance from the bench against Hungary led to McGinn being handed a start tonight. He did not disappoint as he provided some promising moves down the left side before being replaced. (7/10)

Steven Davis: Much like the majority of his teammates, he could have done more in the second half to find a third goal, although, in truth, Northern Ireland were happy to sit on their comfortable cushion. (7/10)

Chris Baird: Another who experienced a quiet evening due to the lacklustre showing from the Faroe Islands all across the field. (6/10)

Oliver Norwood: Was unlucky not to find a way through at the end of the first half, forcing a brilliant save out of the opposition keeper. Was to thank for many of his side's 27 attempts on goal. (7/10)

Jamie Ward: Drifted into some promising positions out wide and linked up well with Norwood throughout. Could have done better with some of his long-range strikes, however. (7/10)

Attack

Kyle Lafferty: A fine performance from the Norwich City striker, who will be pleased with his 21st-minute strike. His movement caused the Faroe Islands back line all sorts of problems. (8/10)

Substitutes

Luke McCullough: Was given 30 minutes to impress after replacing the injured McAuley, although he had very little to do during his time on the pitch. (6/10)

Paddy McCourt: Did not do anything of note after coming on, which is mainly down to his side sitting back on their lead. (6/10)

Josh Magennis: Provided a pair of fresh legs late on, yet he was not given enough time to make any sort of impact on the game. (5/10)


Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty in action against Azerbaijan on November 14, 2012© Getty Images

FAROE ISLANDS

Goal

Gunnar Nielsen: He may have conceded a couple of goals, but his save to deny Lafferty's close-range header was out of the top drawer. The former Manchester City keeper can hold his head up high after that stop. (8/10)

Defence

Atli Gregersen: Pinned back throughout the 90 minutes, meaning that he was unable to ease the pressure on his struggling teammates. (5/10)

Sonni Nattestad: The Faroe Islands back line seemingly collapsed every time a ball came into the box in the first half, although they did improve following the interval. (5/10)

Pol Johannes Justinussen: Was not given a moment's peace by Lafferty, with the striker's movement too much to handle at times. Was replaced late on in Belfast due to injury. (5/10)

Jonas Tor Naes: His early booking left him in a difficult position, meaning that he was unable to rush into any challenges on Northern Ireland's fluid attackers. (5/10)

Viljomur Davidsen: Much like his teammate on the opposite flank, Davidsen was forced into defending for 90 minutes and could not add any attacking impetus onto proceedings. (5/10)

Midfield

Frodi Benjaminsen: Was gifted the chance to pull his lowly-ranked team back into the contest from the spot, but saw his penalty saved. (4/10)

Hallur Hansson: The visitors were completely overrun in the middle of the park, unable to get a grip on the game in the first half in particular. (6/10)

Christian Holst: Could not do anything to halt the runs of the Green Army's surging midfielders, who worked their way into the final third with complete ease. (5/10)

Attack

Joan Simun Edmundsson: The Faroe Islands had one attack of note in the entire game, and it was during this move that Edmundsson won the penalty following a tug on his shirt by Ferguson. (6/10)

Pall Klettskard: Had no service whatsoever, although he could have done more to help his side push forward in the second half when the hosts sat off a little. (4/10)

Substitutes

Arnbjorn Hansen: Failed to make any sort of difference to the flow of the game after replacing Klettskard 15 minutes from time. (5/10)

Brandur Olssen: A lot is expected from the Copenhagen youngster, who was brought on for his debut this evening at Windsor Park. Again, he was unable to make any sort of impact as the game drifted away from their reach. (6/10)

Kaj Leo Bartalstovu: Was introduced with just seconds remaining, with little more than one extra cap to his name to take away from this performance. (4/10)


Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty in action against Azerbaijan on November 14, 2012
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