Match ends, Northern Ireland Women 2, Austria Women 2.
Stefanie Enzinger scored an injury-time equaliser to deny Northern Ireland a famous victory over Austria in World Cup qualifying at Seaview.
Barbara Dunst opened the scoring on 42 minutes after skipping through the home defence.
However Lauren Wade scored seconds after the restart to level the game and Demi Vance's stunning free-kick put Northern Ireland ahead.
Enzinger headed Austria level to rescue a point for the favourites.
Despite the hype and build-up to Northern Ireland's defeat by England at Wembley on Saturday, Tuesday's game with Austrian at Seaview was always set to play a larger role in the outlook of Group D.
England are tipped to win the group, which would leave Northern Ireland and Austria to battle it out for second place and the play-off spot that comes with that.
After travelling back from London on Sunday, Northern Ireland were hit by the news on Tuesday that Chloe McCarron, Caragh Hamilton, Laura Rafferty and Nadene Caldwell were unavailable for selection, with Glentoran duo Jess Foy and Emma McMaster drafted onto the bench as cover.
The score means Northern Ireland, if other results go according to form, will need to match or better the result in the return fixture in Austria next spring if they are to edge into second position.
However, crucially, their dream remains alive as they aim to make back-to-back major tournaments.
Dunst breaks NI resistance
In front of more than 2,000 spectators in north Belfast, it was the visitors who got the best start as Sarah Zadrazil and Dunst fired warning shots after some loose NI passing at the back.
In some rare respite at the other end, Vance's delightful free-kick was met by Julie Nelson but the defender couldn't convert at the back post.
However it was the visitors who remained fully on top despite the best efforts of the home crowd to cheer their players on. Katharina Elisa Naschenweng's volley was well kept out by Jackie Burns after a half-cleared corner and, from another set play, Nicole Billa, the in-form player from qualifying, scuffed her effort from 10 yards.
McGuinness, Northern Ireland's best player in the opening 20 minutes, skipped inside a couple of challenges and found Callaghan on the edge of the area but her first-time effort with her left foot was well over.
Burns, superb at Wembley, pulled off another fine save to deny Dunst, who then fired over from 20 yards as the Austrian pressure kept on coming.
However, Dunst delivered a sucker punch three minutes before half-time when she skipped into the area and beat Burns with a low effort at her near post.
Marie Höbinger played it through to Sarah Zadrazil, who picked out Dunst and the forward kept her cool to finish and break the deadlock.
Northern Ireland hit back in stunning style
Whatever Kenny Shiels said at half-time clearly worked as Northern Ireland equalised seconds after the restart. Furness clipped a ball over the top which found Wade and the winger kept her cool to poke beyond Manuela Zinsberger from the edge of the area.
Before Austria knew what had hit them it was two and the game was turned on its head. When Furness was dragged down 25 yards out, Vance stepped up and curled a stunning free-kick into the top corner to send the Seaview crowd into wild celebrations.
The visitors were settled, and Burns produced a brilliant low save to keep out Höbinger from the edge of the area, but on the whole they were restricted to long-range efforts thanks to some excellent home pressing.
Vance had another free-kick from 25 yards after Furness was again fouled, however this one was well over, and Shiels introduced Everton striker Simone Magill for the final 10 minutes to give NI some fresh legs up front.
Burns produced a superb double intervention to keep Northern Ireland's slender advantage intact, first diving in with a brilliant slide tackle on Dunst and the Glentoran goalkeeper leapt to her feet to keep out Billa's follow-up.
There was another scare when Laura Feiersinger's lob landed just the wrong side of the post, and Burns produced another superb save to tip Sarah Puntigam's goal-bound effort over the bar.
Billa, German footballer of the year for 2021, thundered an effort onto the crossbar in the final three minutes, and Austria got the equaliser when Enzinger's header looped over Burns in the 92nd minute.
Enzinger could have grabbed a winner but was denied by a brilliant block by Rebecca McKenna as both sides were forced to settle for a share of the points.
Despite the late heartbreak, players took time for selfies and autographs with supporters in Seaview as crowds returned to a competitive game in north Belfast for the first time in almost two years.
- 14WadeSubstituted forMagillat 79'minutes
- 21BeattieSubstituted forWilsonat 90+3'minutes
- 11McGuinnessSubstituted forFoyat 87'minutes
- 7WenningerBooked at 49mins
- 13KirchbergerBooked at 71mins
- 14HöbingerSubstituted forFeiersingerat 71'minutes
- 3NaschenwengSubstituted forEnzingerat 82'minutes
- Marta Huerta de Aza
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Northern Ireland Women 2, Austria Women 2.
Substitution, Northern Ireland Women. Emily Wilson replaces Kerry Beattie.
Attempt blocked. Stefanie Enzinger (Austria Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Laura Wienroither with a cross.
Goal! Northern Ireland Women 2, Austria Women 2. Stefanie Enzinger (Austria Women) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Carina Wenninger.
Nicole Billa (Austria Women) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.
Attempt blocked. Nicole Billa (Austria Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Stefanie Enzinger with a headed pass.
Attempt missed. Sarah Puntigam (Austria Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Verena Hanshaw with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Austria Women. Conceded by Jackie Burns.
Attempt saved. Sarah Puntigam (Austria Women) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Sarah Zadrazil.
Attempt saved. Stefanie Enzinger (Austria Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Substitution, Northern Ireland Women. Jessica Foy replaces Kirsty McGuinness.
Nicole Billa (Austria Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Sarah McFadden (Northern Ireland Women).
Attempt blocked. Laura Feiersinger (Austria Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Stefanie Enzinger.
Attempt saved. Sarah Zadrazil (Austria Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Laura Feiersinger.
Attempt missed. Laura Feiersinger (Austria Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Sarah Puntigam with a through ball.
Substitution, Austria Women. Stefanie Enzinger replaces Katharina Naschenweng.
Attempt missed. Katharina Naschenweng (Austria Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Laura Wienroither with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Austria Women. Conceded by Jackie Burns.