Northern Ireland U17s suffered a heart breaking stoppage time defeat to the Netherlands as they kicked off their UEFA European Championship Elite Round Group 3 qualifying campaign.
UEFA U17 Championship Elite Round Group 3 qualifying
Netherlands U17s 2-1 Northern Ireland U17s
Netherlands U17s: Enoch Mastoras (67'), Tygo Land (90+2')
Northern Ireland U17s: Ryan Donnelly (33')
Gemeentelijk Sportpark S.J.C., Noordwijk
Wednesday 22 March 2023
The game was the U17s first game in Group 3 of Elite Round qualifying for the UEFA European Championships.
As well as host nation the Netherlands, Northern Ireland will also face England and Denmark over the course of the week.
With manager Gerard Lyttle with the equivalent U19s tournament in France at the same time the side will be looked after by joint coaches Kris Lindsay and Sean-Paul Murray.
Dungannon Swifts midfielder Ryan Donnelly (pictured) was named captain for the game.
How it happened
Keeper Lorcan Donnelly was called into action during the opening exchanges, blocking a fifth minute effort from Aymen Sliti while Givairo Read missed the target not long after that.
The sides traded chances as the first half progressed with Brendan Hamilton having a go from a set piece with Enoch Mastoras and Sliti both being denied by Lorcan Donnelly.
Northern Ireland were presented with further openings through Ryan Donnelly, Tom Atcheson and Josh Briggs, followed by another Hamilton attempt.
And their endeavours were duly rewarded just after the half-hour mark when Ryan Donnelly found the net after being teed up by Francis Turley.
Half-time: Netherlands U17s 0-1 Northern Ireland U17s
The hosts went in search of the equaliser after the break, offering up chances from Sliti and substitute Kayden Wolff who was thwarted twice in quick succession by keeper Donnelly around the hour mark.
They continued to press and duly levelled midway through the second half courtesy of Enoch Mastoras' free-kick.
Donnelly was in the thick of it again to keep a Martin Sherif shot out but, as time ticked down, Northern Ireland some pressure of their own, winning a number of corners and free-kicks in promising positions.
But they were dealt a hammer blow two minutes into stoppage time when, from a Julien Mesbahi free-kick, Land turned home the winner for the home side.
Full-time: Netherlands U17s 2-1 Northern Ireland U17s
Netherlands U17s: Kiyani Zeggen, Givairo Read (Eus Waayers 68'), Julien Mesbahi, Jorrel Hato, Mats Rots, Enoch Mastoras, Aymen Sliti (Zepiqueno Redmond 81'), Julian Oerip (Kayden Wolff 46'), Tygo Land, Wessel Kuhn (Dies Janse 81'), Shaqueel van Persie (Martin Sherif 68')
Subs not used: Tim Haksteeg, Jesse Bal, Precious Ugwu, Jasper Hartog,
Northern Ireland U17s: Lorcan Donnelly, Harry Lynch, Tom Atcheson, Josh Briggs, Brendan Hamilton, Ryan Donnelly, Kieran Morrison (James Douglas 61'), Francis Turley, Callum McCay (Aodhan Doherty 61'), Rhys Walsh (Jack Hastings 88'), Oscar Kelly (Ciaran O'Hara 54')
Subs not used: Mason Munn, Adhamh Patton, Calum Moreland, Callum Cowan, Casey Smyth