Northern Ireland’s Under-21s are still to register a point in their 2015 European Championship qualifying campaign after Serbia came from behind to beat them 3-1 in Gornji Milanovac.
The visitors took a 54th-minute lead through James Gray in what was their fourth Group 9 fixture but Serbia then netted three times in quick succession thanks to David Morgan’s own-goal (63) and efforts from Luka Milunovic (64) and Uros Vitas (74).
The home side were on the attack throughout the first half as Northern Ireland were struggling to muster much at the other end, but Ryan Brobbel did miss with a free-kick, Gray and Kirk Millar had efforts blocked and towards the end of the first half Carl Winchester produced an unsuccessful attempt.
They began in lively fashion after the break as, either side of Stoiljkovic testing Brennan, Serbian players got in the way of shots from both Gray and Millar, and they were soon in front as the former finished from Luke McCullough’s assist.
Serbia quickly looked to bounce back as Brennan kept Milunovic at bay, and within moments of Morgan having a free-kick saved, things were level with the Nottingham Forest man having put the ball into his own net.
Seconds later the game had been fully turned on its head, with Mitrovic setting up Milunovic.
Efforts from Kovacevic and Mitrovic followed and after Morgan failed to hit the target with a chance, Vitas showed better accuracy to add Serbia’s third as the pressure on Northern Ireland continued.