DAVID SMITH - Sunday, July 29, 2012
Michael Pakrhurst made his return to Nordsjaelland's defense as they split the points with visiting Odense while Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE kept their hot start alive in a win at Esbjerg.
Esberg fB 1 - 2 SønderjyskE
Conor O'Brien went the distance for SønderjyskE on Saturday afternoon, manning the central midfield in their 2-1 road victory at promoted team Esbjerg.
Last weekend's impressive draw against FC Copenhagen had given O'Brien and his teammates a share of the league lead, and with the usual title contenders having racked up a big win earlier in the afternoon, the pressure was on the visitors to earn the victory.
They wasted no time in jumping to an early lead, with Lasse Vibe slipping in behind the defense to pull down a long ball over the top from Eyjolfur Hedinsson, then smacking it from the left side of the area to the far upper corner.
The hosts equalized just past the half-hour in wholly unexpected fashion, as a corner from Arnor Smarason flew over a crowd of players and looped untouched into goal for the rarest of goals.
With the game looking headed to a draw, the visitors secured the three valuable points seconds past the end of regulation, with Bjorn Paulsen rising high to meet a cross from the left side with an acrobatic header.
The team remains locked with Copenhagen atop the Superliga standings, although they hold a slight edge on goal differential. They have a nine-day break before taking the field on Monday, August 6 against visiting AC Horsens.
FC Nordsjaelland 1 - 1 Odense BK
Michael Parkhurst made his return to Nordsjaelland's lineup after missing time with a broken toe, playing 78 minutes on the right side of the defense and picking up an assist and second-half yellow card in their home draw against Odense.
Prior to the game, much chatter had been generated regarding the new artificial turf which had just been installed in Nordsjaelland's Farum Park an whether it would affect either teams' gameplan.
The Wild Tigers needed little time to show that they would have no problems adjusting to the new turf, scoring a quick goal to take the advantage.
Parkhurst received a pass on the right edge of the area, and hit a hard cross to the center where Søren Christensen put it away for the 1-0.
The lead held through the remainder of the half, with the hosts clearly the better of the two teams, and again coming close to increasing their lead following the intermission.
It was Odense, however, who would have the last laugh, as a pass from Odense defender Daniel Hoegh was deflected perfectly to the foot of attacking midfielder Kalilou Mohamed Traore, who made no mistake to put away his shot for the 81st-minute equalizer.
Four points from their first three games is enough to leave the Wild Tigers in a five-way tie of teams at fourth place. They next face Aalborg on Saturday afternoon.
Randers FC 2 - 1 AGF Aarhus
Charlie Davies once again saw substitute action for resurgent Randers, coming on as a 71st minute sub and helping the team hang onto a win over AGF Aarhus.
Aarhus were without head coach Peter Sørensen on the sideline, after he was handed a one-game suspension by the league for a tirade in their previous game.
Randers did hold the upper hand on the run of play throughout the first half-hour, but it was Aarhus who took a surprising lead in the 33rd minute in clinical fashion.
Caspar Sloth delivered a long set piece from the left side, and Stephan Petersen rose high to head it in for the 1-0 advantage.
Randers would not be deterred, and the team completely shifted the momentum back in their favor in the 49th minute as Lasse Rise found an opening and rocketed a 38-yard screamer that put the score back on even terms.
Then in the 66th minute, they netted the winner as a quick attack ended with the ball at the foot of Ronnie Schwartz, who had no problems to beat keeper Steffen Rassmussen.
Davies entered for goalscorer Rise with 19 minutes to go, however there was little for him to do other than help the team avoid a collapse, which they successfully did to earn the full three points.
Having racked up their second straight victory, Randers seem to have recovered from their disastrous start of two weeks ago, and are sitting in third place. They will have a tough test to keep their streak alive when they visit Midtjylland on Sunday.
HB Køge 1 - 1 Vejle BK Kolding
Both Brad Rusin and Shawn Nicklaw played the full 90 minutes on Sunday for HB Køge, as they started out their 1. Division season in disappointing fashion in a draw against fellow promotion favorites Vejle BK Kolding.
Nicklaw joined Rusin in the starting lineup for his first appearance with the team, however it was another debutant - Anders Kaagh - who had the biggest impact.
One minutes before the half-hour, Fabinho delivered a cross into the box which former Aarhus player Kaagh headed in for the lead.
Vejle earned their share of the points with a 62nd minute equalizer, after Estonian international Kaimar Saag set up Jeppe Andersen for an easy score inside the area.
Køge will return to the field on Sunday when they pay a visit to FC Fyn.
Clarence Goodson and Brøndby are still looking for their first points of the season, and will hope to improve upon their recent performances when they host Silkeborg on Monday evening.
Mike Jones and FC Hjørring suffered a poor start to their 1. Division campaign, falling 1-0 on the road to FC Vestsjælland on Sunday.