Connah’s Quay Nomads 1-3 Shakhtyor Soligorsk: All to do for Nomads after first leg defeat
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Connah’s Quay face an uphill task to reach the Second Qualifying Round of the Europa League after they were beaten 3-1 by Belarusian side Shakhtyor Soligorsk at Rhyl’s Belle Vue Stadium.
Both sides started the game with positive intent from with the home side wanting to get the ball into the box and use their height.
The visitors created the best chance of the early exchanges as they sprung a counter-attack from a Nomads long throw and Elis Bakaj long-range effort was parried away by John Danby.
Connah’s Quay’s best threat came from set-pieces and their first opportunities came from Danny Holmes who headed wide before Andy Owens put a free header over the bar but was ruled offside.
The scoring was opened on 20 minutes by Max Ebong for the visitors who ran through midfield into the penalty area before placing his shot past Danby into the bottom corner.
The goal gave the Belarusians opportunity to dominate possession and control the game and a second came after 33 minutes as Elis Bakaj’s free-kick hit the Nomads wall but rebounded back to Bakaj whose low drive beat the wall and nestled in the bottom corner.
Nomads piled the pressure on in the remainder of the first half and could’ve had an instant response when a break away from kick off resulted in a free kick for the home side which Michael Bakare hit tamely into goalkeeper Klimovich’s arms. The Welsh Cup winners battled until halftime, but were unable to create any chances from set piece opportunities and went into the break 2-0 down.
Connah’s Quay started the second half stronger than they ended the first as they pushed for a goal to give them away back into the tie. Nomads’ best two chances came early on when the dangerous Bakare fired a speculative effort wide from 30 yards and Laurence Wilson produced a fine save from a wide free kick.
On 52 minutes the home side had the ball in the net following a long throw into the box but the Estonian official had already blown for a foul.
Following the hour mark, the visitors regained control on the game and were unlucky not to have scored a third when Laurence Wilson denied Igor Kuzmenok’s low header on the line.
Declan Poole was brought on by the home side to replace Michael Parker to try and force a breakthrough, but it was the away side who seemed to kill the game off after 75 minutes from Mikhail Shiburn’s 25-yard free kick.
The game slowed down following the third goal as Soligorsk looked to secure the win and clean sheet with substitutions and fouls breaking up play. Andy Morrison sent on Noah Edwards and Nathan Woolfe to create an opportunity for a consolation on the night.
An opportunity came on 88 minutes for Connah’s Quay as a free kick was whipped into the box and George Horan was brought down. The referee pointed to the spot and Callum Morris slotted home to give Connah’s Quay something to take Belarus next week.
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