DUBLIN - Northern Ireland maintained their lead at the top of Group Three when striker Warren Feeney headed home to give them a 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Slovenia in Belfast on Wednesday. In a tight encounter that mirrored a group where just three points separated five teams going into the day's matches, Feeney followed up his strike in Saturday's 3-2 win over Poland with his fifth international goal late on. The visitors dominated the first half with right back Miso Brecko popping up in the box early on to force an important block from Northern Ireland goalkeeper Maik Taylor. The pressure continued in the second period and Slovenia almost took the lead just after the hour mark when Robert Koren's superb left-foot drive from distance rattled the crossbar. Ten minutes later the much-travelled Feeney, currently on loan at Dundee United, converted the hosts' first shot at goal when he met Sammy Clingan's cross with the deftest of headers to seal Northern Ireland's fourth qualifying win in a row.
1 April 2009
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