03/09/2010 Maribor Slovenia 1-0 Corry Evans
Maik Taylor, Gareth McAuley, Craig Cathcart, Stephen Craigan, Aaron Hughes, Chris Baird, Steven Davis, Grant McCann (Corry Evans), Chris Brunt (John Gorman), David Healy (Kyle Lafferty), Warren Feeney
Northern Ireland went into this game on the back of 5 straight defeats, no win in 10 matches and no goals in 7. The fans and media were quite obviously concerned. Add to the fact that Slovenia had returned from a relatively successful World Cup in South Africa and that Northern Ireland tended to start qualifying games poorly, fans and players a like would have been happy with a draw,but more than anything a goal! The script was thrown into the bin as two youngsters making their competitive debuts for Northern Ireland, Craig Cathcart and Corry Evans, combined to score the solitary goal of the game. A great start for Northern Ireland and arguably Northern Ireland’s greatest away competitive victory since Romania in 1986.
Nigel Worthington –
“I thought we played fantastic in the first half. We had a game-plan, stuck to it and caused them problems. We started the second half slowly but defended well. We knew Slovenia would throw the kitchen sink at us but we got our blocks in, it was fantastic. The players deserve all the credit because they worked hard all week.”
“I’m delighted with Craig Cathcart, he did a good solid job, stuck to it – great credit to him. I have no fears about Corry, I’ve worked with him for three years. He showed what he can do and not just with his goal, while young Jonny Gorman came on and showed maturity as well. It gives us a nice start to the campaign and now we’ll look forward to meeting up for the Italy game at Windsor Park next month.”
Corry Evans (Goal Scorer) –
“I haven’t scored for Northern Ireland since I was a schoolboy, so to get on the scoresheet in such an important match is fantastic,” said the 20-year-old. We’ve had our criticism over our away from and for not being able to score goals, so to win away with a clean sheet is great.”
03/09/1995 Porto Portugal 1-1 Michael Hughes
Alan Fettis, Steve Morrow, Barry Hunter, Colin Hill, Nigel Worthington, Keith Gillespie, Steve Lomas, Jim Magilton (Keith Rowland), Neil Lennon, Michael Hughes, Iain Dowie (Phil Gray)
Alan Fettis had an inspired match against Portugal just like his competitor for the number one jersey, Tommy Wright, had against Germany in 1992. Fettis defied almost everything the Portuguse threw at him except for a 47th minute strike by Oliveira Domingos, while at the other end a 30-yard freekick by Michael Hughes (hitting Iain Dowie’s bum on the way!) helped Northern Ireland earn a fantastic draw.