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Dowie sparks recovery but slip-ups are costly.

Northern Ireland 2 Moldova 2

Northern Ireland failed to roll over Moldova at Windsor Park despite Iain Dowie's first international goal in 19 months.

Lawrie McMenemy's men needed to win this Euro 2000 qualifier against the weakest team in group three to boost their chances of reaching the finals.

But on a night when they made schoolboy errors at the back, they had to make do with a point against a team ranked 116th in the world.

Dowie's 49th-minute goal made the score 1-1, after the visitors' Vladimir Gaidamasciuc had netted on 22 minutes. Then, just before the hour, Ion Tistimintanu left Northern Ireland trailing again. But that was for only six minutes, when Neil Lennon scored on 63 minutes.

McMenemy had claimed Moldova would be no pushovers but he will still be disappointed by the draw which removes much of the gloss of last month's fine win over Finland.

The talented Moldovans fired a warning shot across Northern Ireland's bows when Serghei Stroienco drove narrowly wide from 30 yards out early on.

The Irish looked hesitant in defence, where Peter Kennedy was making his debut at left-back, and the Moldovans led when Curtiean's throw-in on the left was flicked on by Serghei Clescenco and Gaidanasciuc capitalised on slack marking.
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Title Annotation:Football
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 19, 1998
Words:210
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