Feeney strike brings house down at home fortress

Northern Ireland 1 Slovenia 0

Worthington was keen to play down blossoming expectations of qualification afterwards but he was enthusiastic in his praise for a set of players who overcame their own deficiencies on the night to build on that excellent 3-2 win over Poland here last Saturday.

It was not a pretty game last night, nor were there many chances at either end and you could understand Worthington when he said: "It was a fight and we knew it'd be a fight. Slovenia are a good side, big and strong.

"It was like a heavyweight boxing match in the first half and we stood with them blow for blow. I told the players at half-time that as long as we were standing up to them we would win the game. They did that and got their just rewards.

"We needed more energy and we got it. I have nothing but praise for my players, their quality, their endeavour. The players had the bit between their teeth. They have taken all the information on board and put it into practice. And we kept a clean sheet tonight. We gave Slovenia nothing and we took it to them in the second half."

With 13 points on the board, Northern Ireland have played a game more than the others in the group. But they have kept themselves in contention until the trip to Poland in September and, having lost two of their first three matches, that is an achievement.

A 2-0 loss in Slovenia was one of those games and in not playing well, yet winning, the Irish got some revenge. The dreadful pitch did not help them, interrupting any midfield rhythm, and there were injuries to both full-backs. The goalkeeper Maik Taylor had to make a sharp save from Miso Brecko and shortly before Feeney's goal, the West Bromwich midfielder Robert Koren rattled the crossbar from 25 yards with Taylor beaten.

Then the unrelenting Sammy Clingan exchanged passes with Damien Johnson and swept a curling cross that found Feeney at the near post. He had scored the opener against Poland and now a deft flick to the ball fired it just inside the Slovenia far post.

Northern Ireland (4-4-2): Taylor (Birmingham); McAuley (Ipswich), Evans (Manchester United), Hughes (Fulham), McCartney (Sunderland); Johnson (Birmingham), Clingan (Norwich), McCann (Scunthorpe), Davis (Rangers); Healy (Sunderland), Feeney (Dundee United). Substitutes used: Baird (Fulham) for McAuley, 15; McGivern (Morecambe) for McCartney, h-t.

Slovenia (4-4-2): J Handanovic; Mavric, Cesar, Filekovic, Jokic; Kirm, Komac, Koren, Brecko; Dedic, Novakovic. Substitutes used: Ljubijankic for Dedic, 63; Pecnik for Kirm, 76; Mejac for Brecko, 84.

Referee: A Yefet (Israel).

Group Three

Northern Ireland results: Slovakia 2 Northern Ireland 1; Northern Ireland 0 Czech Republic 0; Slovenia 2 Northern Ireland 0; Northern Ireland 4 San Marino 0; San Marino 0 Northern Ireland 3; Northern Ireland 3 Poland 2, Northern Ireland 1 Slovenia 0.

Remaining fixtures: 5 Sep Poland v Northern Ireland. 9 Sep Northern Ireland v Slovakia. 14 Oct Czech Republic v Northern Ireland.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf