Demi Vance feels Jacki Burns dismissal was turning point

Demi Vance pointed to the sending off of keeper Jackie Burns as the turning point in the 4-1 friendly defeat by Belgium in Lier.

By Steven Crawford
Friday, 24th June 2022, 9:56 am

Burns was given her marching orders with 20 minutes to go after she brought down Tessa Wullaert just outside the area in Kenny Shiels' side final warm-up match before this summer’s UEFA Women’s Euros.

The game was in the balance after Lauren Wade's superb equaliser cancelled out Wullaert's opener for the hosts.

But with Northern Ireland reduced in numbers the Red Flames piled on the pressure and scored three late goals through Ella van Kerkhoven, Wullaert and Laura Rafferty's own goal.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Demi Vance in action against Belgium

"The game changed when we went down to ten, but when we went in at half-time 1-1 we believed we could high-press them and that we could win the game," Vance, who captained the side on the night, told the Irish FA website.

"I think when I saw 'Waders' step up for the goal she only needed one touch and it was in the back of the net.

"I think it shows what she's capable of and what we're capable of as a team that we can high-press teams like Belgium and get our goal, which I think we deserved.

"We used this match as conditioning and to get a good team performance, and I think we did that.

"It's unfortunate we didn't get more games in the build-up to the Euros, but we're doing a lot of work behind the scenes and doing what we can to be ready."

Despite the defeat it was a proud night for Vance leading out her country.

"It was a very nice feeling to captain the side tonight and lead the team out," she said.

"Growing up you just want to be involved in the squad, but it was a big privilege for me to lead the team out and put the captain's armband on."