International Friendlies
Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland1SloveniaSlovenia0

Northern Ireland 1-0 Slovenia

By Lyle JacksonBBC Sport at Windsor Park
Washington strike gives NI victory

Conor Washington marked his home debut by earning Euro 2016-bound Northern Ireland victory over Slovenia in Monday's friendly at Windsor Park.

The QPR striker, 23, charged his way through and turned to shoot low past keeper Jan Oblak in the 42nd minute.

Northern Ireland have now gone 10 games unbeaten for the first time.

Slovenia had a chance to equalise in the second half but veteran keeper Roy Carroll superbly saved Milivoje Novakovic's penalty.

The 66th-minute spot-kick was awarded when West Brom defender Jonny Evans pulled back Miral Samardzic as a corner came into the area.

Notts County keeper Carroll made another fine stop in the 89th minute to keep out a low shot by Valter Birsa.

Washington's 'pick me' performance

Washington, the former postman who was playing non-league football just over four years ago, earned his second cap after making his debut in Thursday's 1-1 draw in Wales.

Boss Michael O'Neill has said the bulk of his squad will be made up by the players who got Northern Ireland to their first major finals for 30 years, so there are only a few places up for grabs by those on the periphery.

But Washington has certainly put his hand up for inclusion.

Those fans wondering why the match-shy Kyle Lafferty, their top scorer in qualifying, did not start forgot all about that when the hard-working Washington bulldozed his way through to finish well for the only goal of the night.

NI have got that winning feeling

Northern Ireland going 10 matches unbeaten is a nice record for O'Neill to reflect on but, from his perspective, the result mattered more because it keeps momentum going as the Euro 2016 finals edge closer.

In their first tournament appearance in 30 years, Northern Ireland will face world champions Germany, Poland and Ukraine in the group stage.

Thursday's draw in Cardiff and this slender victory maintain the feel-good factor ahead of the finals.

It all breeds confidence and, if they can come through their final two warm-up games without losing, Northern Ireland can head to France in fine spirits.

Fighting for France places

For spells, the match may have had the definite feel of a friendly, but it was a good workout for Northern Ireland.

Striker Lafferty, now with Birmingham City on loan, came on in the second half to get some more game time.

Peterborough United defender Michael Smith made his international debut at the age of 27 and did not look out of place with a composed performance.

Competition for places is keen - there are going to be some disappointed men when O'Neill decides on his squad of 23.

Man of the match - Conor Washington (Northern Ireland)

Conor Washington scores for Northern Ireland against Slovenia
Matchwinner Washington kicked the Euro 2016 door open with a strong performance and a well-taken match-winning strike

What's next?

Northern Ireland have two friendlies left before the serious business of facing Poland in their opening Euro 2016 match on 12 June.

O'Neill's men are back at Windsor Park to play Belarus on Friday, 27 May.

They then travel to play Slovakia in Trnava's New City Stadium on Saturday, 4 June before heading for their tournament base near Lyon.

Boss O'Neill has chosen to play Slovakia, believing they play in a similar style to the Poles and second Group C opponents Ukraine.

Line-ups

Northern Ireland

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Carroll
  • 20Cathcart
  • 4McAuleySubstituted forHughesat 45'minutes
  • 5EvansBooked at 65mins
  • 25SmithSubstituted forMcLaughlinat 71'minutes
  • 16Norwood
  • 17McNairSubstituted forMcGinnat 79'minutes
  • 11FergusonSubstituted forDallasat 60'minutes
  • 8Davis
  • 24WashingtonBooked at 52minsSubstituted forMagennisat 70'minutes
  • 19WardBooked at 43minsSubstituted forLaffertyat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2McLaughlin
  • 3Lafferty
  • 6McCullough
  • 7McGinn
  • 9Mckay
  • 10Lafferty
  • 12McGovern
  • 13Hodson
  • 14Dallas
  • 15Paton
  • 18Hughes
  • 21Magennis

Slovenia

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1OblakBooked at 52mins
  • 2SkubicSubstituted forStojanovicat 61'minutes
  • 4Samardzic
  • 5CesarSubstituted forStrunaat 80'minutes
  • 13Jokic
  • 8KurticSubstituted forVrhovecat 45'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 6Krhin
  • 7IlicicSubstituted forNovakovicat 45'minutes
  • 10Birsa
  • 21VerbicSubstituted forKirmat 62'minutes
  • 9BezjakSubstituted forCrnicat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Novakovic
  • 12Belec
  • 15Struna
  • 16Vidmar
  • 17Kirm
  • 18Crnic
  • 19Struna
  • 20Stojanovic
  • 22Vrhovec
Referee:
Kristo Tohver

Match Stats

Home TeamNorthern IrelandAway TeamSlovenia
Possession
Home34%
Away66%
Shots
Home3
Away9
Shots on Target
Home2
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away7
Fouls
Home12
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Northern Ireland 1, Slovenia 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Northern Ireland 1, Slovenia 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Slovenia. Conceded by Oliver Norwood.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Slovenia. Conceded by Roy Carroll.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Valter Birsa (Slovenia) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Matic Crnic.

  6. Post update

    Bojan Jokic (Slovenia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland).

  8. Booking

    Blaz Vrhovec (Slovenia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Blaz Vrhovec (Slovenia).

  10. Post update

    Niall McGinn (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Slovenia. Conceded by Oliver Norwood.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Rene Krhin (Slovenia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Blaz Vrhovec (Slovenia) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Valter Birsa.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Bojan Jokic.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Andraz Kirm (Slovenia).

  16. Post update

    Niall McGinn (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Matic Crnic (Slovenia).

  18. Post update

    Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Bojan Jokic (Slovenia).

  20. Post update

    Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Monday 28th March 2016

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