Frustration for Carroll, Lafferty and Northern Ireland
Published: 14 Nov 2012 21:58
Northern Ireland 0 Azerbaijan 1
In so doing, much of the great work achieved in Porto last month and that draw with Portugal was undone.
The result leaves Northern Ireland fourth in the group four points behind Portugal and Israel and nine drift of leaders Russia.
A chorus of boos rang out at the final whistle which was directed at the pathetic play acting of the visitors that led to six minutes of injury time.
David Healey's 94th minute equaliser was scant reward following a succession missed chances with Kyle Lafferty guilty of two good opportunites in the first half while Chris Baird failed to hit the target with two free headers in the second half.
Craig Cathcart and Daniel Lafferty also failed to hit the target with headers in the first half, Cathcart in particular should have scored.
There was little Fermanagh's other representative Roy Carroll could do with Azerbaijan's opener in the fifth minute as Aliyev's swerving shot flew into the bottom corner.
In the second half, Carroll was a virtual bystander save for an excellent interception outside the box in the 59th minute which kept Northern Ireland in the game.
Paddy McCourt's introduction certainly breathed new life into the Northern Ireland second half push but David Healey's 94th minute equaliser from a direct free kick was just too little too late, giving no time to find a winner.
One point rescued but two dropped from Northern Ireland and their Fermanagh contingent with Russia up next.
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