REPORT | Ireland MU16 3-2 North Macedonia MU16
Derry City’s Trent Kone-Doherty hit a brace with Hull City’s Stan Ashbee winning the game in the final minute on his first international appearance for Ireland.
The result meant Ireland finished third in the tournament and was a welcome boost for Paul Osam side’s who were looking to bounce back from a semi-final defeat against hosts Serbia on Tuesday.
Ireland started the brighter of the teams and threatened the North Macedonians with numerous attacks in the early stages. It was a matter of when, not if, they could breach their opponent’s rear guard and that came in the 16th minute thanks to Kone-Doherty.
Chelsea’s Shaun Wade showed superb trickery to weave his way into the area and when he fired across the face of goal Kone-Doherty was left with an easy tap in for his fourth international goal of the season.
North Macedonia equalised in the 28th minute following a counter attack. Maximillian Dimitrievski received the ball inside the penalty area, beat his man and then fired it low past Jamie Gamble.
Seven minutes into the second half, North Macedonia went 2-1 ahead. Altin Aliji was able to pounce on hesitancy in the Irish backline and with a lot of work to do, he cut in on his left and found the far corner to give his team the lead.
From that point on it was one-way traffic with wave-after-wave of Irish attacks. First Taylor Mooney was denied by a last-ditch tackle when he was one-on-one inside the 18-yard-box then in the 65th minute goalkeeper Slave Vrgov pulled off an excellent reactive save from Luke Kehir to keep North Macedonia in front.
Kone-Doherty, who had been a constant threat all game, went close in the 69th minute where he was able to let fly from the angle of the area. However, that effort went over the bar.
Osam’s young Boys in Green didn’t have long to wait for their way back in the game when Mooney was brought down for a penalty in the 73rd minute. Kone-Doherty stepped up and sent Vrgov the wrong way for his fifth Ireland goal of the season.
Ireland could sense a winner and it would come in the final minute of the game. From a free-kick, Naj Razi played a ball down the channel for Kone-Doherty, the winger found Mooney on the edge of the box and then the number 9’s goal-bound effort was blocked on the line, the loose ball fell to Ashbee to tap home from close round to give Ireland the 3-2 win.
Republic of Ireland: Gamble, O’Halloran (O’Sullivan, 58), Grante (C), Ashbee, Nolan (Kehir, 58), Bartley (Dodd, 58), Kelly, Akachukwu (Mackey, 58, Kone-Doherty, Wade (Razi, 58, Mooney
North Macedonia: Vrgov, Kkijku, Georgievski, Saveski, Aliji, Ljubevski, Jakimovski, Sekovski, Djaferi
Substitutes: Ahtarov, Velkov, Melichi, Kocev, Dimitrievski, Manojlov, Memishi, Stojkovski, Jovanovikj, Ajetovikj, Mladenovski
Referee: Sasa Ranisavic (Serbia)
Tuesday, April 12 | Serbia MU16 3-2 Republic of Ireland MU16, Sports Centre FA of Serbia, Stara Pazova, Serbia
Thursday, April 14 | Republic of Ireland MU16 3-2 North Macedonia, Sports Centre FA of Serbia, Stara Pazova, Serbia