| 8.9°C Belfast

Davis error gifts Serbians victory


Steven Davis (right)

Steven Davis (right)

Steven Davis (right)

A horror back-pass from Steven Davis condemned Northern Ireland to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Serbia and dealt their Euro 2012 hopes a grave blow.

With the score locked at 0-0 and Nigel Worthington's side finally starting to get on top after their opponents had dominated the first period, the Rangers midfielder gifted Marko Pantelic a 67th-minute goal.

The goal handed Serbia three points and pole position in the battle for second place in Group C.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, will head face Estonia on Tuesday in fifth place after their next opponents recorded a surprise win over Slovenia.

The hosts' big chance came after 55 minutes when Grant McCann's shot ricocheted off a defender and found Jonny Evans on the left. He chipped a cross into the centre where his brother Corry was waiting but the midfielder put a free header high and wide from close range.

There was another chance within minutes, Chris Brunt pinging a 40-yard pass to David Healy, whose cross was messily handled by Bojan Jorgacevic. Brunt had motored up the pitch to strike the loose ball but his shot cannoned off a red shirt and away from danger. Corry Evans, who followed his miss with a yellow card, was replaced by Niall McGinn on the hour.

The Celtic man was quickly into the action, turning Aleksandar Kolarov and cutting back for McCann, who worked Jorgacevic from the edge of the area. The Windsor Park faithful were sensing a goal but Milos Ninkovic gave a warning after 65 minutes, Camp making an athletic save.

But there was no stopping Pantelic two minutes later, Davis producing his nightmare back-pass to leave Camp isolated. The Olympiakos striker made the most of his good fortune, rounding the keeper and slotting into an empty net.

Warren Feeney was summoned from the bench in place of McCann as Worthington attempted to grab the all-important equaliser, but his side looked deflated.

The momentum that had been building since the restart had all but evaporated and if not for the ever-alert Camp, who made two more interventions, Serbia would have scored again. Healy gave way to Millwall forward Josh McQuoid for the final seven minutes - plus an added four for injuries - but there was to be no late drama.