My fifth, and final, international match of 2012 saw World Cup action at Windsor Park as Northern Ireland looked to build on their point against Portugal last month, against Azerbaijan.
This being Northern Ireland, you know what is happening next.
For me, the night got off to a less than great start, as a RTC on the Lisburn Road brought traffic to a standstill, meaning I missed the start of the game, and Azerbaijan’s goal.
It was a good job I asked someone for the score when I eventually got to my seat, otherwise I would have looked a bit silly celebrating a last minute 1-0 win.
It looked like it was going to be the cliche ‘one of those games’ as Northern Ireland missed chance after chance. Good chances too. In some case, glorious chances.
Eventually, the goal came on 95 minutes, David Healy, remember him, from a free-kick.
I was glad of this, not just because it meant Northern Ireland avoided defeat, but it would have been the second successive match at Windsor Park where the game finished 1-0, and I missed the goal.
If word had got out, I may have found myself banished to the forecourt of the South Stand on Saturday if Linfield were drawing 0-0 at half-time.
Unfortunately, the winner didn’t come. Would have been nice to have the time to do so, as Azerbaijan players made a mug out of the referee with their constant time wasting and feigning injuries, the referee not adding the correct amount of time for further stoppages in injury time.
It looks like the World Cup drive is over once again. It already was before kick-off, but a win would have put us 2 points behind Portugal and Israel, and we could have had four months of “you never know” ahead of the double header with Russia and Israel.
It’s now all about trying to secure 4th spot and getting ranking points to get a favourable draw in the expanded Euro 2016. We would probably have a better chance if we knew how to finish.
Was in the Railway Stand and it wasn’t great for phototaking. Got some arty stadium shots to make up for the lack of match action.