Albania 0-4 Northern Ireland: Magill at the double
Simone Magill scored either side of half-time as Tanya Oxtoby’s side were rewarded for their dominance, with Danielle Maxwell and Megan Bell adding further goals.
Northern Ireland's only previous win in the group had come at home against Albania in September and they began the fixture in third place.
The three points lifted them above Hungary into second, for a few hours at least, with their final group game to come against leaders the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday.
The absence of record scorer Rachel Furness through injury was a blow, while Oxtoby gave a debut in goal to Maddy Harvey-Clifford.
But she was a virtual spectator throughout as the visitors kept up consistent pressure on the Albania goal.
Only a goal-line clearance from Sara Maliqi prevented Magill giving Northern Ireland an early lead and Joely Andrews then saw her effort deflected over before Sarah McFadden headed off target.
In the 43rd minute, they finally made the breakthrough, with Magill stabbing in at the second attempt from close range after Marissa Callaghan had seen a shot blocked.
The second came inside a minute of the restart, Magill unmarked to head a cross from Maxwell in off a post.
And in the 58th minute it was Maxwell on the score sheet, a first-time effort from Lauren Wade’s cross easily beating the keeper.
Eighteen-year-old Keri Halliday then came on for her debut before another substitute, Bell, headed in an 85th-minute fourth.