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Northern Ireland suffer another defeat in European U21 qualifying

Northern Ireland remain without a win in their European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign after crashing to a late 2-1 defeat at the hands of Macedonia.

The Irish came into the match at Mourneview Park with just one point from their opening two games in Group Three but were briefly on course for all three here when Josh Doherty headed them in front from Darren McKnight's corner just before half-time.

However, just like in their opening home match against Scotland when they lost 2-1 having also taken the lead, Northern Ireland's youngsters could not hold on.

Macedonia drew level just moments into the second period when half-time substitute Viktor Angelov pulled the ball back to Enis Bardi to curl a shot past home goalkeeper Conor Brennan.

Macedonia will feel that was no more than they deserved having created a host of good opportunities in the first half, with Brennan doing well to save from David Babunski and Bardi, while Visar Musliu twice saw headers go just wide before Daniel Avramovski's 37th-minute shot hit the post.

Northern Ireland lost James Singleton to an injury midway through the second half, the Glenavon defender carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital, before Macedonia struck the woodwork once again 10 minutes from time through Babunski.

Mikhail Kennedy spurned a good chance to put Northern Ireland back in front when he shot wide when clean through, and two minutes after that Macedonia snatched the winner through Kire Markovski.


From Belfast Telegraph