Football: Moldova 0 Northern Ireland 0 - Little cheer for McMenemy

JUST LIKE Moldova's crumbling Republic Stadium, Northern Ireland's European dream lies in pieces following a no-score bore in Chisinau yesterday. Only a win would have done for Lawrie McMenemy's side if they were to keep their faint hopes of qualifying for Euro 2000 alive, but the point gained from this dull encounter leaves the Irish well behind the Group Three leaders with just five points from five games.

The result may even lead to the end of McMenemy's reign. The former Southampton manager's contract with Northern Ireland expires at the end of this qualifying campaign.

McMenemy had gambled on the untested Bournemouth striker Stephen Robinson for what was his most important match since taking charge. But the move failed as the 24-year-old Robinson struggled to bridge the gulf in quality between the Second Division and international football.

He could make little impact on the match, apart from getting in the way of a Keith Gillespie effort in the first half. In truth the Irish generally created very little, although Iain Dowie appealed in vain for a header which he felt had crossed the line.

McMenemy had told his captain, Steve Lomas, to push forward at every opportunity in support of Robinson and Dowie, and he went close with a 25-yard shot early on.

Gillespie also tried his luck from the right only for his effort to cannon off Robinson. Michael Hughes made his mark on the game and Oleg Fistican's legs on 13 minutes when he chopped down the Moldovan to earn a yellow card.

Moldova, whose last competitive win was almost four years ago, rallied and Igor Oprea's cross from the left was headed over by Alexander Sukharev.

That effort brought the home fans to life, although Northern Ireland's small travelling band of supporters were also making themselves heard.

Maik Taylor proved he was not suffering any after effects from Saturday's 3-0 defeat against Germany with a fine save from Sergiu Epureanu's 20- yard free-kick. Then just before the interval, Vladimir Gaidamaschuk raced clear, only for Darren Patterson to bring him down.

There was little to pierce the gloom after the break, the game plunging to new depths of tedium and the Moldovan crowd presumably wondering if the entertainment on offer was really worth a day's wages.

Kevin Horlock became the third Irish player to be booked in the 61st minute before Aaron Hughes came on for Patterson two minutes later.

Midway through the half came the moment when Dowie felt he had scored. The veteran striker got his head to Lomas's long throw-in, but the Croatian referee ruled that Sergei Dinov had palmed the ball away before it could cross the line. With that decision went any lingering Irish hopes of qualification.

MOLDOVA: Dinov (Constructorul Chisinau), Fistican (Zimbru Chisinau), Rebeja (Uralan Elista), Sosnovsky (Dynamo Kiev), Guzun (Torpedo Zaporizhya), Stroenko (Tiligul Tiraspol), Sukharev (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Oprea (Zimbru Chisinau), Gaidamaschuk (Sherif Tiraspol), Epureanu (Zimbru Chisinau), Kleschenko (Zimbru Chisinau). Substitute: Stratulat (Nistru Otaci) for Oprea, 90.

NORTHERN IRELAND (4-4-2): Taylor (Fulham); Patterson (Dundee United), Horlock (Manchester City), Williams (Chesterfield), Morrow (Queen's Park Rangers); Lomas (West Ham), Gillespie (Blackburn Rovers), Lennon (Leicester City), M Hughes (Wimbledon); Dowie (Queen's Park Rangers), Robinson (Bournemouth). Substitute: A Hughes (Newcastle United) for Patterson, 56.

Referee: E Trivcovic (Croatia).

Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London

Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
i100(More than you think)
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey


Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game