Slovenia were the visitors to Windsor Park for Northern Ireland’s opening home game of 2016, one of only two before they jet off to France this summer.
Northern Ireland’s record against Slovenia is relatively good, having met four times in the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 Qualifying campaigns, winning two and drawing one of those games, keeping clean sheets in three of those games.
It was a changed line-up from the game against Wales, with Michael Smith and Conor Washington being given a late opportunity to force their way into the 23 for France.
It was Slovenia who looked the most dangerous in the first-half, getting in behind Northern Ireland’s defence a worrying amount of times, only for waste the chances they had.
Conor Washington was Northern Ireland’s livliest attacking player, doing a Pat McCourt-esque run past a Slovenian defener, only for the goalkeeper to make himself big and save the shot.
The next time, he wasn’t so lucky, as on 41 minutes, Washington forced his way past a Slovenia defender to set himself up for a shot to put Northern Ireland 1-0 up.
By the end of the game, the Railway Stand was singing his name. That’s one way to make an impression.
In the second-half, Northern Ireland brought on Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis. A rare outing for the pair of them together, as it’s usually one or the other.
They combined well together, but could get a second goal to kill the game, usually denied by a last gasp tackle or some rotten luck.
It looked like they were going to rue those missed opportunities when Slovenia were awarded a penalty on 64 minutes.
In their previous two visits to Windsor Park, Slovenia had failed to score. Roy Carroll’s save ensured that run would continue for them.
It wasn’t as important as the kick he saved against the Faroe Islands in October 2014, but it was celebrated just as much.
Northern Ireland were able to see the game out and get a 1-0 win, making it ten games unbeaten for Northern Ireland.
There’s never a bad time to go ten games unbeaten, but in the build-up to a major tournament is certainly a good one.
Up next, a home game in May against Belarus followed by a trip to Slovakia, before the big night (well, teatime) against Poland in Nice.
Conor Washington gave himself a great chance of being there.