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Wales kids frozen out of the race to qualify.

WALES Under-21s face an uphill challenge to qualify for the European Championships despite battling their way to a goalless draw in freezing conditions in Yerevan.

Brian Flynn's side knew that a win at the Hanrapetakan Stadium would put them right back in the mix for a place at 2013 finals in Israel, but they could not capitalise as Elliott Chamberlain and Elliott Hewitt failed to make the most of second-half chances to secure the three points.

The result means Wales remain fourth in Group Three, three points adrift of leaders the Czech Republic having played a game more, although a best runners-up spot is not beyond them as they are just two points behind second-placed Montenegro with three games to play. Although the sides were evenlymatched for much of the contest, played in testing conditions that included several snow showers, the visitors carved out better chances.

Jake Taylor could have given the young Dragons a first-half lead, but the Exeter striker failed to find the target with his header.

The home side responded early in the second half with Artak Aleksanyan putting an excellent cross into the box for Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, who saw his shot blocked by the Welsh defence.

The influential Aleksanayan was soon pulling the strings again and he sent another teasing ball into the box, only for Edgar Malakyan to fail to get on the end of it.

Leicester striker Chamberlain then looked set to secure the three points for Wales when he brilliantly beat two defenders in the Armenia box, but he could not keep his composure and fired wide from close range.

And the visitors' last chance of claiming the spoils went begging when defender Hewitt saw his effort saved by Arsen Petrosyan after latching on to a Tom Bradshaw cross.

Wales' next qualifier is at home to Andorra at the end of February.

NORTHERN Ireland's hopes of qualifying for the 2013 Under-21 European Championship took another blow as they lost 2-0 to Serbia at Coleraine's Showgrounds.

In what could be manager Steve Beaglehole's final match in charge - his contract expires at the end of the year and the next fixture is not until February - his side, including Newcastle's Shane Ferguson, lost out to late goals from Sasa Markobic and Nemanja Gedelj.

Beaglehole had a stronger squad than usual available to him with the senior side not in action, but even they could not stop a third defeat in five matches.

Ipswich's Josh Carson hit the crossbar and Brentford's Adam Thompson squandered a header before Markobic struck with 10 minutes remaining.

Blackburn defender James Knowles then conceded a penalty three minutes later, with Gedelj converting.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 16, 2011
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