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Hafnarfjördur have last laugh

Thursday, 26 August 2004

By Alex O'Henley at McDiarmid Park

[1] A dramatic last minute goal by Tommy Nielsen gave Icelandic visitors FH Hafnarfjördur victory in their UEFA Cup second qualifying tie in Scotland against Dunfermline AFC, to seal a dramatic turnaround for his side.

Late goals

[2] Dunfermline looked as though they were heading to victory after Gary Dempsey gave them the lead on 72 minutes. But the Icelandic side hit back with two late goals to give them a 4-3 aggregate win and a place in tomorrow's draw in a game played in Perth after the visitors opted against using the artificial surface of Dunfermline's East End Park home.

Team changes

[3] Home manager Davie Hay brought Brothers Derek and Darren Young into midfield while started with veteran striker Craig Brewster, who came off the bench to score in the first leg - while Hafnarfjördur restricted themselves to just the one change with Jon Stefansson replacing Atli Bjornsson on the right wing.

Home chances

[4] Andrius Skerla went close for Dunfermline on six minutes but headed wide from eight metres. Noel Hunt was making some promising attacks down the flanks in the early stages, but the Hafnarfjördur defence were able to clear their lines comfortably.

Hunt denied

[5] Dempsey threatened again on 30 minutes, advancing from midfield before sending in a shot from 25 metres which went just over and the Irishman was involved again minutes later when he set up the best chance of the first half for his compatriot Hunt, but goalkeeper Dathi Larusson blocked the shot with his feet.

Visitors break

[6] The same pattern continued in the second half with Hafnarfjördur content to soak up the pressure. Just before the hour mark the Icelandic side turned defence into attack and Emil Hallfredsson picked up the ball 30 metres out before curling in a shot which hit the underside of the crossbar with Derek Stillie beaten.

Dunfermline ahead

[7] Knowing they needed to score to go through, Hafnarfjördur came out of their defensive shell in the last 30 minutes and Baldur Bett almost gave them the lead when he drifted into the box before lifting a shot just over. For the first time Dunfermline were looking vulnerable at the back, but the pressure was relieved on 72 minutes when Dempsey pounced on a cut-back from the byline and drilled a low shot into the net.

Dramatic comeback

[8] Hafnarfjördur were not finished though and they levelled the score on the night through substitute Bjornsson with seven minutes left - but were still behind on away goals until Nielsen gave them that dramatic winner.