Dale Gorman and Ryan Johnson both helped Northern Ireland U21s to a crucial 2-1 win against Estonia in their opening Euro 2019 qualifier.
Both Academy graduates - now part of the Stevenage FC First Team squad - made the starting XI which saw Ian Baraclough’s side come back from behind to win in dramatic fashion.
Having fallen behind on 50 minutes, Northern Ireland rallied as David Parkhouse levelled matters before Liam Donnelly scored the winner from the spot deep into injury time.
Speaking to StevenageFC.com after the game, Ryan Johnson said it was a brilliant result and game to be a part of.
“I think I have played seven games now for Northern Ireland but this was definitely a memorable one.
“It was just a great start to our qualifiers. To get three points already is brilliant for us and it is more than we got from the whole of the previous campaign.
“Obviously we have got a new manager now and there is a good feel around the team.
“We were on top for most of the game; I don’t think they had a shot in the first half. We conceded from a good finish early in the second half and then we had to show a lot of character to come back - which thankfully we did.”
Johnson says the international fixture meant he has barely had a break during the off-season which he hopes will only help when the Stevenage squad meet up later this month.
“Ever since we broke up I have been keeping my body topped up because I knew this was coming up and I wanted to make sure I was ready.
“It has been excellent for me to be able to play competitive football this early and it is always an honour to represent Northern Ireland. I just love playing football and I am really looking forward to next season now.
“I am eager to play games next season. Whether that means going out on-loan again or fighting for a spot in the team, I believe in myself and I know I am ready. Obviously ideally I will be playing for Stevenage and that is my aim.”