Record no compensation for Elliott after Swiss defeat

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The Independent Online

A dejected Stephen Elliott was unable to find any solace in his record-breaking display for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s on Tuesday night.

A dejected Stephen Elliott was unable to find any solace in his record-breaking display for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s on Tuesday night.

Don Givens's side were soundly beaten 4-2 by their Swiss counterparts in Bern to end a 13-match unbeaten run stretching back to June last year.

The delight at winning their opening European Championship qualifying match at home to Cyprus on Friday was vanquished inside four minutes as Switzerland grabbed the lead.

Two quick goals at the start of the second half added to their woes, before the Sunderland striker Elliott netted his sixth goal in 10 appearances to become the Under-21s all-time leading scorer, breaking a four-way tie with Andy Reid, Mark Kennedy and Graham Barrett.

But an own goal from the Manchester City centre-back Paddy McCarthy compounded the misery, with a late penalty from Celtic's Aiden McGeady merely flattering Ireland.

They now have a month to raise their spirits before taking on France in Troyes on 8 October.

"It was terrible, and I don't know what went wrong, but it was some way to lose the unbeaten run," said Elliott.

"We just never got going after giving them a present early on.

"I had a chance when it was 3-1 and if that had gone in, it could have been a different game, but it's all ifs and buts.

"I'm not really too happy with my own performance. I could have done a lot better. I don't think anybody played to their full potential.

"Obviously, it's nice to get the record, but I can't feel too happy about it at the moment because to lose like that was horrible. Maybe I'll think differently in the long run."

With two teams qualifying for the play-offs from the five-team Group Four, Ireland can hardly afford to lose too many matches, with next month's game in France now a key fixture.

"France will be tough, but I'm sure the lads will be able to pick themselves up and give them a good game," added Elliott.

"Don has told us there's no point dwelling over this result and to go back to our clubs and get our heads right.

"We have to keep our heads up. It's not the end of the world It's just one defeat in 14 games, so it's not that bad when you think of it.

"We have to think ahead to the next game and hopefully when we come back for that game we will feel a bit more positive about it."

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