Liam Donnelly scored for Northern Ireland Under-21s on Thursday night but couldn’t help prevent them slipping to a 5-3 defeat at the hands of Spain in Portadown.
The Green and White Army came from behind three times with skipper Donnelly netting the third equaliser from the penalty spot before the visitors’ extra quality told as they finally secured victory.
Pools defender Donnelly initially claimed the second Northern Ireland goal of the night but that has subsequently been given to Shane Lavery who also notched their first.
The result meant Spain continued their 100% record in Group B of the European Under-21 qualifying campaign, while Northern Ireland remain second ahead of Monday’s meeting with third-placed Iceland.
“We’re disappointed because we did quite well attacking-wise and scored some good goals,” Donnelly told Northern Ireland’s media team after the game.
“It says a lot when you’re disappointed after being beaten by Spain who have a very good squad and a lot of good players playing at a high level.
“We can hold our heads high coming off the pitch. There are a lot of positives from the game so we have to take them in to Monday.”
Donnelly’s appearance on Thursday night gave him his 19th Under-21 cap, moving within two of his country’s all-time record of 21 held by former Liverpool midfielder Sean Friars.