DANIEL Ballard helped Northern Ireland to a clean sheet in their 0-0 draw against Switzerland in Belfast on Wednesday evening.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell saved Haris Seferovic’s penalty in the contest’s most notable moment.
Ballard played the full game on the right side of a back three as Ian Baraclough’s side failed to overtake the Swiss in Group C. They moved above Bulgaria into third but are three points behind second-placed Switzerland.
George Saville came on in the 74th minute but the hosts couldn’t make that crucial breakthrough as fans returned to Windsor Park for the first time in two years.
Ballard had scored his first international goal against Lithuania in their previous qualifier and went close when he had a header blocked as he again impressed.
Meanwhile, Mahlon Romeo made the first appearance of his loan spell at Portsmouth in Pompey’s 5-3 EFL Trophy defeat at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night.
Romeo revealed he sought the advice of former Portsmouth players Jed Wallace and Ben Thompson ahead of making the move.
“They gave rave reviews, rave, rave reviews. They loved it here,” Romeo told The News.
“Jed was telling me where to stay, what to do, Thommo did the same as well and was obviously here more recently.
“They came up to me saying, ‘you are going to Pompey!’. They were excited for me.
“I know what the Pompey fans think about Thommo, I heard them chanting his name in last month’s Carabao Cup game!
“If they had told me it was horrible and there was nothing to do here, I would have thought about not joining.
“But the fantastic reviews they gave helped.
“You can probably say there’s a key group that have been at Millwall for a while, going from League One to the Championship. Those two are definitely part of that group.
“Just look at Jed’s numbers, he is a serious player, really, really good. I’m sure he will go higher.
“We worked well together on the right and that kind of got us both going in our careers. He’s a proper character and I’ll miss playing with him.”
Image: Millwall FC