THE introduction of Shane Ferguson was the catalyst for Northern Ireland as they kept their World Cup dream alive with a 3-0 win over San Marino.
Michael O’Neill’s side were struggling against the minnows until Ferguson came on for Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis moved from the right wing to a more central position.
Magennis put his side ahead in the 70th minute before doubling the advantage five minutes later.
Steve Davis scored from the spot with 12 minutes left after Ferguson was involved in winning a penalty for handball.
The Lions’ Conor McLaughlin played the full 90 minutes at right-back.
Northern Ireland are second in Group C, five points behind Germany, but, crucially, seven points ahead of Czech Republic with three games left.
O’Neill’s side face Czech Republic at home on Monday when avoiding a defeat will seal a play-off place.
Jordan Archer wasn’t involved as Scotland won 3-0 in Lithuania. Scotland are third in Group F and play Malta on Monday.
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