Northern Ireland women are determined to channel their momentum in Wednesday’s second World Cup 2015 qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina at Mourneview Park.
The campaign opened with a 2-0 loss to Scotland in Motherwell, but coach Alfie Wylie was encouraged by what he saw from his youthful girls.
He said: “It was the Scots’ third game in the campaign and our first. Moreover, the girls hadn’t played together since September last year, barring a few games against some local boys’ sides by way of preparation.
“Even after Scotland took the lead early on, we were in the game and made sure that the response was superb. We showed great shape and it wasn’t until the 78th minute that Scotland got their second.
“The goals we conceded were silly by our standards, but the performance was excellent. Scotland were cock-a-hoop after crushing Bosnia 7-0 but were wrong if they thought they could roll over us as well.”
Wylie is suitably cautious when it comes to underestimating any opposition.
Despite Scotland’s huge win over Bosnia in September, he knows a win is far from a foregone conclusion.
He does, however, believe his girls have the confidence and ability to secure a result, and are demonstrating fitness levels high enough to challenge on the international stage.
“I was very pleased with the performance and how focused the girls generally are. We still have problems up front but we were without Simone Magill, our primary striker.
“We took it in our stride and we’re looking to get straight back in with a result,” he added.
“There’s free entry to the match, and it’s a big return home for the girls, so I really would love to see a big crowd behind them.
“It makes all the difference and shows the girls they’re appreciated for their achievements so far – and for the progress they’ll undoubtedly make.”