Northern Ireland 0 Wales 0: Sanchez glad to extend run as Toshack states case for defence

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The Independent Online

The Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez expressed his satisfaction after his side extended their unbeaten run to four games last night.

Sanchez's stand-ins did him proud in a 0-0 draw against Wales in the friendly here, producing another decent display following recent victories against Spain and Latvia, plus a draw in Denmark.

The record scorer David Healy was absent with a broken bone in his elbow while Chris Baird, Damien Johnson and Warren Feeney were among those also sidelined. Yet they could have secured a victory had a shot from substitute Grant McCann not rattled the bar.

Sanchez said: "I thought for a 0-0 it was reasonably good entertainment. The second half had everything but a goal. Now, whoever comes in, we look a reasonable side. Don't forget, Wales have players of the highest calibre. I like playing people who don't normally play. We can change the players around and still get results. Nobody can rest on their laurels. We played some really nice football and created chances. We just lacked that killer instinct.

"Chris Brunt has three efforts that went past the post and McCann hit the bar. We created opportunities and that is the main thing. I thought there were some excellent performances and we gave the fans value for money."

The Wales manager John Toshack believed his team's defensive performance was the most positive aspect of the game. The visitors were without Danny Gabbidon, Mark Delaney, James Collins and Gareth Bale and Toshack said: "The defensive side of things - we certainly got some positives there. The way the defence performed is a big plus for us. It was a very good workout, in the first half we controlled things quite well but were a little bit lightweight.

"What we showed was that we can play good football, but we can also knuckle down and scrap."

Northern Ireland: Taylor (Ingham, 46); Duff, Craigan (Webb, 67), Hughes, Capaldi, Gillespie, Davis, Clingan, Brunt, Lafferty, Sproule. Substitutes not used: McCann, Shiels, Thompson.

Wales: Coyne; Duffy (Ricketts, 46), Evans, Collins, Nyatanga, Davies, Koumas, Robinson, Parry (Crofts, 70), Vaughan (Cotterill, 46), Bellamy. Substitutes not used: Jones, Bale, Morgan, Valentine, Easter, Llewellyn.

Referee: C Richmond (Scotland).

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