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Serbia swamp young Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Under-21 team ended their disappointing Euro 2015 campaign with another defeat, heavily beaten at home by Serbia.

Jim Magilton's side ended their campaign with just three points, taken in the home match against Cyprus, after going down 4-1 at Portadown's Shamrock Park.

Magilton handed out five debuts on the day - to Chris Johns, Cameron Dummigan, Jamie Harney, Aaron Burns and Michael Duffy - but a visiting side who started the day with an outside chance of topping Group 9 proved too strong.

It was already 4-0 when Hartlepool's on-loan Middlesbrough winger Ryan Brobbel got the hosts on the scoresheet for just the second time in the eight-match cycle.

Home captain James Gray spurned an early chance to mark his final appearance at this level with a goal and the deadlock remained until the 34th minute when Aleksandar Pesic beat goalkeeper Johns.

Johns was picking the the ball out for a second time less than two minutes later as Slavoljub Srnic improved on an earlier miss to double the lead.

Striker Duffy failed to take the only opportunity to hit back before half-time and another quick two-goal burst after the break settled the issue.

Pesic was unlucky not to score on each occasion, hitting the woodwork in the 56th and 58th minutes to tee up Srnic's second and Filip Kostic for the fourth.

At that stage the last half hour looked as though it would be a trial for the hosts but Brobbel salvaged something positive with his first Under-21 goal with 23 minutes to go.


From Belfast Telegraph