Historic night for Nomads in Europa League sees them draw against top flight Norwegian side Stabæk
All to play for next week at the Fredrikstad stadium in Norway after a spirited first leg performance by gap Connah’s Quay saw them hold Stabæk Fotball to a goalless draw at Rhyl’s Belle Vue stadium.
In an historic first ever European game for the Deeside club, Andy Morrison’s men were good value for their draw against Norwegian side who are no strangers to European football.
Having played in the Europa and Champions League in previous season, Stabæk Fotball boast a squad full of international talent from the Ivory, Ghana, USA and India.
Interestingly Stabæk goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh became the first Indian player to play in UEFA Europa league sadly for him though he was injured half an hour into the tie and had to be replaced.
Proud to reach another milestone by playing in @EuropaLeague but gutted to have it cut short after injuring my hand pic.twitter.com/89XV8ToLiE
— Gurpreet Singh (@GurpreetGK) July 1, 2016
Nomads new signings Michael Wilde, Jay Owen, Lewis Short and Ian Kearney were given competitive debuts.
The Deesiders started well and offered the greater threat first, a headed effort from Wilde went into the net only for the goal to be ruled out by The Nomads’ striker’s foul on the goalkeeper.
Minutes later the ball was in the net again after a weighted cross from Woolfe was successfully converted by another Wilde header, but the goal was this time ruled out by a close-to-call offside decision.
The Nomads’ bright start to the game continued, when Callum Morris sent a header from 10 yards just over the Stabæk crossbar.
The visitors responded to this early pressure with a controlled passing performance across their own half and the midfield, which continued for the majority of the game but without any successful attacking movements for Billy McKinlay’s side.
Towards the end of the first half, The Nomads again emerged with a number of close chances. Lewis Short send a long throw into the Stabæk area, where Callum Morris sent a header just over the crossbar.
From another long throw from Short, the ball fell to John Disney who sent the ball towards George Horan who just missed out on the ball, yards from goal in one of The Nomads’ best chances of the half.
Nathan Woolfe’s wicked crosses caused problems for the opposition all game, seen when Sayouba dropped the ball in an attempt to catch it as it entered his box.
Stabæk looked to stun The Nomads late in the first half when Birger Meling sent a cross come shot towards goal from 25 yards, forcing Danby to stretch to his right to save.
Referee, Johnny Casanova then signalled for half time, giving The Nomads the chance to reflect on a positive first half performance in which they had enjoyed the better of chances.
The second half opened with a slightly lower tempo to the first, with the first major incident coming in the 54th minute when George Horan tried to connect with a Baynes free kick from 25 yards inside the area, similar to his first half effort.
Arguably the biggest moment of the game came around 10 minutes later, when Michael Wilde broke through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. Wilde released his shot from around 15 yards only for Sayoube to produce a great low save to deny The Nomads the lead.
Stabæk looked to reply to this scare from the The Nomads, and had the ball in the net moments later but suffered the same as their hosts, with the goalscorer Jeppe Arctander Moe ruled offside.
As the game entered its final stages, Stabæk retained possession well and increased their presence in The Nomads’ half, but a solid defensive performance from Connah’s Quay prevented the Norwegians from any clear cut chances.
With around five minutes to go, Les Davies was introduced in place of Michael Wilde, but he could not change the scoreline which finished 0-0 after three minutes of injury time.
Following the game, The Nomads’ Manager, Andy Morrison said
“We’re still in the tie – that was our thought at the start of the game… when we got to half time, it was to make sure that we left here with nil, because that gives us a fantastic opportunity, and we’ve shown tonight that we will create chances against them.”
The Nomads now travel to Norway for next week’s second leg, where they have everything to play for following a controlled performance against a well drilled Stabæk outfit in which they may even have came out of victorious on another day.
The second leg of the first qualifying round in Stabaek kicks off at the Fredrikstad stadium, Norway, at 7:00pm local time.
|1||Danby (GK)||22||Sandhu (GK)
|28||Rushton (GK)||1||Sayouba (GK)
|Andrew Morrison (SCO)||William Mckinlay (SCO)|
|Johnny Casanova (SMR)|