Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Poland's Late Hit Thwarts Taylor

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Poland's Late Hit Thwarts Taylor

Article excerpt

Maik Taylor made a string of superb saves but still could not save Northern Ireland from defeat in this World Cup qualifier in Warsaw last night.

It was all going according to plan until three minutes from time. That was when Maciej Zurawski made the breakthrough when he headed home a cross from Miroslaw Szymkowiak.

Birmingham goalkeeper Taylor was left with a feeling of disbelief after a tremendous one-man show.

Manager Lawrie Sanchez made three changes to the side that lost to England at the weekend.

Perhaps the most surprising name in the team was defender Mark Williams, now on loan at lowly Rushden & Diamonds from MK Dons.

Williams lined up at the back against Poland alongside Newcastle's Aaron Hughes and Crewe's Colin Murdock.

Over 800 Irish fans were in the Legia Warsaw stadium, hoping to see an improved performance from the team and they were not disappointed.

Taylor was tested in the fifth minute when he did well to tip over a powerful 25-yard free-kick from Zurawski. But the visitors nearly took a shock lead in the 13th minute.

James Quinn rattled in a volley that was heading for the top corner but Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek reacted superbly to turn the shot away.

That got the Northern Ireland fans going, following good work from Chris Baird and Keith Gillespie in the build-up.

Poland again found themselves on the back foot in the 17th minute when they conceded a free-kick 30 yards out.

David Healy's free-kick eluded everyone and drifted narrowly wide of the post with Quinn just failing to get a vital touch.

Quinn picked up the first yellow card of the game in the 21st minute following a clash with Jacek Bak.

Taylor came to the rescue in the 26th minute when he somehow managed to parry a header from Zurawski following a cross from Marcin Baszczynski.

Three minutes later Taylor made another fine save when he scooped away a close-range shot by Jacek Krzynowek.

This was a worrying time for Northern Ireland and Hughes booted the ball clear after an inswinging cross from Bartosz Karwan in the 34th minute. …

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