Second-half comeback not enough as Ireland lose out to Iceland

Heather Payne and Amber Barrett score for Vera Pauw’s side in Reykjavík

Heather Payne scored her first international goal in the friendly international against Iceland at the Laugardalsvollur Stadium in  Reykjaví. Photograph: Eggert Jóhannesson/Inpho

Heather Payne scored her first international goal in the friendly international against Iceland at the Laugardalsvollur Stadium in Reykjaví. Photograph: Eggert Jóhannesson/Inpho

 

Iceland 3 Republic of Ireland 2

A second-half comeback against Iceland wasn’t enough to prevent Vera Pauw’s Republic of Ireland women slipping to their sixth successive defeat in the first of two friendlies in Reykjavík.

Causing an upset against a side 17 places above them in the world rankings was always an uphill task but first-half goals from Agla María Albertsdóttir, Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir and Dagný Brynjarsdóttir rendered it an impossible one for Ireland.

Heather Payne’s first international goal five minutes into the second half provided hope but it wasn’t until deep into stoppage-time before substitute Amber Barrett grabbed a second.

Ireland have much to work on, especially defensively, for Tuesday’s rematch to take some confidence into their opening World Cup qualifier in Georgia on September 17th.

Pauw handed a debut to Aoife Colvill just days after her international transfer from Australia was finalised but, aside from forcing a corner early on, she was largely isolated and pulled ashore at the break.

By then, Ireland had been taught a lesson by a side preparing for their fourth successive Euro finals next year.

A lethal concoction of Niamh Fahey switching off from a long pass and goalkeeper Grace Moloney scampering out of her box in the 10th minute gifted Albertsdóttir an easy lob into an unguarded net.

Four minutes later, more sloppiness at the back cost Ireland as Karólína Vilhjálmsdóttir’s right-wing cross was flicked on by Albertsdóttir for captain Jónsdóttir to poke her close-range volley home.

Brynjarsdóttir added the third six minutes before the break, seizing upon the loose ball after Alexandra Jóhannsdóttir’s shot rebounded off the post into her path.

Facing a potential landslide, Pauw introduced Barrett and Éabha O’Mahony at the interval and the latter made an impact on her second cap within five minutes.

The Cork City left back raided down the left channel before crossing for Payne to find the roof of the net with a first-time shot.

Opportunities fell to both sides thereafter but Barrett was the only one to take hers by latching onto Fahey’s pass and slotting her shot home in off the post.

ICELAND: S Sigurðardóttir; E Viðarsdóttir, G Perla Viggósdóttir, I Sigurðardóttir (G Arnardottir, 64), Á Munda Gunnlaugsdóttir; A Jóhannsdóttir, G Yrsa Jónsdóttir, D Brynjarsdóttir (K Tómsdóttir, 86); K Lea Vilhjálmsdóttir, E Metta Jensen (S Guðmundsdóttir, 79), A María Albertsdóttir (Berglind Björg Porvaldsdóttir, 80).

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: G Moloney; J Finn, N Fahey, D Caldwell, L Quinn, K McCabe; M Connolly, N Farrelly (E O’Mahony, 46), D O’Sullivan; H Payne, A Colvill (A Barrett, 46).

Referee: Rebecca Welch (England).

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