Women's World Cup qualifier, Group C: Northern Ireland Women 0-1 Slovakia Women
Northern Ireland Women ended their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-0 home defeat against Slovakia.
A 36th-minute goal from visiting captain Dominika Skorvankova was the difference between the sides at Shamrock Park.
Northern Ireland captain Julie Nelson won her 100th international cap and almost marked it with a remarkable goal from a 30-yard strike.
The defeat means Alfie Wylie's team finish with just one group victory.
Northern Ireland's only win in the eight-game series came in the away match against the Slovaks last November, when they won 3-1.
Skorvankova's goal was the result of neat footwork in the box when she turned Jessica Foy well and found the far corner of the net with a well-hit, early strike across the face of home goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns.
Century girl Nelson comes close
On the night when Nelson became the first Northern Ireland women's international to reach 100 caps, the Crusaders Strikers defender came within inches of equalising with an outstanding second-half strike.
Kerry Montgomery rolled a 74th minute free-kick to the skipper and she unleashed a 30-yard strike which was was tipped on to the post by outstretched visiting keeper Maria Korenciova.
Thirty-three-year-old Nelson joins Pat Jennings, Aaron Hughes and current men's captain Steve Davis as one of only four players to make 100 appearances for Northern Ireland.
The Slovakian team gave her a guard of honour as she came on to the pitch before the match and she received a number of pre-match messages of congratulations on social media, including a video message from Davis.
Second-half pressure almost pays off
After going into the break a goal down, Northern Ireland pressed hard for an equaliser throughout the second half.
They came close with two efforts inside a minute, the first coming from Marissa Callaghan two minutes before the hour mark.
Caragh Milligan made a fantastic run down the right and her cross found Callaghan at the back post but her low effort was well saved and Simone Magill was unable to latch on to the rebound.
A minute later Millgan went round the keeper but the angle was too narrow and she could only find the side-netting with her effort.
Nelson's free-kick came so close and then in the 91st minute Magill had a chance to snatch a draw but her left-foot shot dragged just wide of the far post, with the final whistle blowing soon after.
The result means Northern Ireland, who lost to the Republic of Ireland 4-0 on Friday, finish second bottom of the group, level on points with bottom-placed Slovakia but ahead on head-to-head goal difference.
N Ireland Wom
- 2SimpsonBooked at 52mins
- 3FoyBooked at 69mins
- 8CallaghanSubstituted forWadeat 80'minutes
- 16BellSubstituted forMckennaat 87'minutes
- 12KorenciovaBooked at 90mins
- 21SurnovskaBooked at 90minsSubstituted forHavranovaat 90+2'minutes
- Ionela Alina Peşu