Football: Northern Ireland set unbeaten record with Slovenia win

Northern Ireland's Robert Green applauds fans at the end of the match on Monday (March 28).
Northern Ireland's Robert Green applauds fans at the end of the match on Monday (March 28). PHOTO: REUTERS

BELFAST (REUTERS) - Northern Ireland set a record of 10 games unbeaten with a 1-0 victory over Slovenia in a friendly international on Monday as they prepare for their first European Championship.

The narrow win at Windsor Park, thanks to Conor Washington's first-half goal, meant manager Michael O'Neill eclipsed the achievement of Billy Bingham, whose Northern Ireland side twice went nine games undefeated in the 1980s.

Man-of-the-match Washington scored after 41 minutes with his first international goal on his second appearance for the country.

The Queens Park Rangers striker outmuscled Miral Samardzic and then barged Nejc Skubic out of the way before cutting inside Bostjan Cesar and firing a low shot past Jan Oblak.

The 23-year-old, who was at non-league St Ives Town only five years ago, qualifies for Northern Ireland through his grandmother but had never actually visited the country until he was called up to the squad.

Veteran goalkeeper Roy Carroll, 38, preserved the home side's lead when he saved Milivoje Novakovic's penalty after 66 minutes after Jonny Evans had hauled Samardzic to the ground.

The Irish host Belarus and visit Slovakia in their last two friendlies before starting the Euro 2016 campaign against Poland and then facing Ukraine and world champions Germany.

Slovenia failed to qualify for this year's European Championship after losing a qualifying playoff to Ukraine.