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Northern Ireland hold Czechs

SoccerNews in World Cup 10 Sep 2008

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Northern Ireland held the Czech Republic to a goalless draw at a rainswept Windsor Park here on Wednesday as they gained their first point of the 2010 World Cup qualification programme.

It was a fine effort from Nigel Worthington's men against a side ranked eighth in the world, especially as he saw Rangers midfielder Steve Davis leave the squad in the build-up to deal with a personal matter.

This was a confidence boosting result for the province after their defeat away to Slovakia in Bratislava.

Experienced goalkeeper Maik Taylor had to be sharp early on to keep the home side in the game when he tipped over a free-kick from Marek Kankulovski that swirled in the wind.

But it was not all one-way traffic with Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech having to be alert to prevent team-mate David Rozenhal heading in an own-goal.

Taylor then had to get down low to keep out a shot from Libor Sionko.

Veteran Northern Ireland striker David Healy got into the match in the 23rd minute but his chip was easily handled by Cech.

Milan Baros, who has played for several English Premiership clubs, should have put the visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time but headed wide following a cross from Zdenek Grygera.

Northern Ireland had chances to win the game late on with substitute Martin Paterson heading wide 12 minutes from time.

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