Northern Ireland showcased their never-say-die attitude to nick a 1-1 Nations League draw with Romania, despite playing for 51 minutes with 10 men.
Ian Baraclough’s tenure started in frustrating fashion as Reading striker George Puscas (25) bundled home before things got worse when Josh Magennis was dismissed for a second yellow card with just 39 minutes on the clock.
It was backs against the wall from that moment on but goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell stood up to the Romania challenge, making a string of fine saves despite not playing a competitive game since November last year.
The Burnley goalkeeper’s heroics kept the hope of an equaliser alive and substitute Gavin Whyte took the chance when it came (86) after latching onto a Kyle Lafferty knockdown.
It was a momentum building start for Baraclough, who has stepped up from his role as Under-21s boss to take charge of the senior side and will lead the team into the crucial Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Bosnia-Herzegovina in October.
Northern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell (9), McNair (7), Cathcart (7), Ballard (7), Dallas (6), Davis (6), Evans (6), Lewis (6), Saville (6), Magennis…