Northern Ireland U19s completed their U19 European Championship Elite Round qualifying group with a 5-2 defeat to Norway in Saran, France.
U19 Euro 2023 Elite Qualifying Round – Group 1
Northern Ireland U19s 2-5 Norway U19s
Northern Ireland U19s: Callum Marshall (38' 59')
Norway U19s: Dylan Murugesapillai (17'), Jacob Eng (45+1' & 61'), Erik Flataker (pen 56' & pen 89')
Stade Jacques-Mazzuca, Saran
Tuesday 28 March 2023
This was the third and final of the U19 team's games in Group 1 of elite round qualifying for this year's UEFA U19 European Championship.
Northern Ireland lost their opening game by a single goal to hosts France and then 3-1 to Romania at the weekend. Norway won their two previous games, defeating Romania 4-0 and France 2-1.
Manager Gerard Lyttle made a number of changes from the Romania game, bringing Brodie Spencer, Conor Scannell, Charlie Lindsay and Mackenzie Kirk into the starting XI.
Huddersfield Town defender Brodie Spencer was named captain for the game.
How it happened
Norway moved in front with just over a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock through Dylan Murugesapillai after he had been teed up by Magnus Riisnæs.
Northern Ireland responded positively with Callum Marshall, Tommy Fogarty and Mackenzie Kirk all having opportunities and their endeavour was rewarded seven minutes from the break when Marshall turned home the equaliser.
Boosted by this, Northern Ireland kept up the pressure and might have edged in front when Marshall got on the end of a Charlie Lindsay corner.
But they were rocked in first half stoppage time when Norway regained the advantage after Jacob Eng beat Josh Clarke from a Syver Aas ball.
Half-time: Northern Ireland U19s 1-2 Norway U19s
Norway started the second half on the offensive and might have added to their lead during the opening moments when Eng hit the woodwork.
At the other end both Conor Scannell and Jamie Doran had chances for Northern Ireland but, on 56 minutes, Norway did go further in front when Erik Flataker converted from the spot after Aaron Wightman was adjudged to have brought down Eng.
Back came Northern Ireland again, however, just three minutes after that when Wightman teed up Marshall to bag his second goal of the afternoon.
However, in what was a frantic few minutes, Norway restored their two-goal advantage as Eng doubled his tally after getting on the end of an Oskar Sivertsen pass.
Gerard Lyttle's side never let their spirits drop and almost pulled another back on 71 minutes when Marshall was denied his hat-trick by the keeper, and again with five minutes remaining.
Unfortunately Norway grabbed a fifth goal in the closing moments of normal time with their second spot-kick of the game, again converted by Flataker, after keeper Pierce Charles - a half-time substitute for Clarke - upended Antonio Nusa.
Full-time: Northern Ireland U19s 2-5 Norway U19s
Northern Ireland U19s: Josh Clarke (Pierce Charles 46'), Brodie Spencer, Tommy Fogarty, Daithi McCallion, Aaron Wightman, Dylan Sloan (Jamie Doran 46'), Darren Robinson (Rio Oudnie-Morgan 65'), Conor Scannell, Charlie Lindsay, Callum Marshall, Mackenzie Kirk (Conor Falls 65'). Subs not used: Joshua Roney, Aaron Prendergast, Sam Glenfield, Sean Brown.
Norway U19s: Viktor Engh, Dylan Murugesapillai, Eirik Blikstad, Simen Haram (Vegard Solheim 62'), Vetle Egeli, Isak Hjorteseth (Niklas Ødegård 90'), Jacob Eng (Antonio Nusa 62'), Syver Aas, Magnus Riisnaes (Isak Hansen-Aarøen 90'), Oskar Sivertsen (Andreas Schjelderup 90'), Erik Flataker. Subs not used: Magnus Ree, Nikolai Hopland, Niklas Wassberg.