A late goal from Northern Ireland ends England hopes in Regions Cup
England 1-2 Northern Ireland
UEFA Regions Cup
Intermediate Round Group 6
A goal five minutes from time saw Jersey, England's representatives in the UEFA Regions Cup, crash out as they went down 2-1 to Northern Ireland
Following a surprise goalless draw between San Marino and Republic of Ireland earlier in the day, it meant that the winners of Jersey's match-up later would qualify for the Finals in Italy.
It was England who had the better of the early exchanges without creating any clear chances. So when Northern Ireland took the lead on 27 minutes, it came against the run of play.
A needless free kick given away by Jay Reid saw a deep cross from the right find James Boyle unmarked on the edge of the penalty area. Boyle brought the ball under control and fired home from 18 yards.
The goal shifted the balance of play and it was the Irish who took a grip on the game as they pushed forward looking for a second.
After the break, Northern Ireland were again in charge but England found strength to haul themselves back into the game with a superb goal on 64 minutes.
A five-man move saw the ball move from right to left and reach Ben Gallichan sprinting forward. He took the ball in his stride, carrying to the goalline before crossing deep to where the onrushing Craig Russell crashed the ball home from six yards.
It spurred England on and there looked to be only one winner from then on. However, with only five minutes left on the clock, a rare Irish attack proved decisive.
The English defenders backed off as Colum Curtis advanced. He had time to open up the space for the shot with the drop of his shoulder and curled the ball into the top corner of the net.
It gave James Styles no chance in the goal and ended English hopes as their efforts in the closing stages were in vain.
The win sends Northern Ireland into the Finals and leaves England with a match against San Marino on Sunday to salvage some pride.