FREDRIKSTAD DUMPED FROM NORWEGIAN CUP
Moss and FFK traded goals on either side of halftime and battled all the way through to a penalty shootout where Moss were triumphant, putting away all 5 shots. Moss keeper Per Morten Kristiansen brilliantly saved FFK's third attempt, taken by Vebjørn Hagen, and when Tom Reidar Haraldsen made it 5-3 for Moss the celebrations were on.
Moss, who currently sit mid-table in the 1st division, proved early on that they were not going to be pushed around by the Eliteserien side. In the 7th minute heavy pressure led to a dangerous giveaway by FFK's defense. Håvard Sakariassen collected a throughball and smashed a shot past the diving Steinar Sørlie and off the post.
Moss came at FFK again only two minutes later when the Canadian Patrice Bernier saw his well hit effort saved by Sørlie after a nice buildup through the midfield. It was fair warning that Bernier was going to be a handful all evening.
FFK finally responded in the 14th minute with their first scoring opportunity of the match. A well placed cross from the right hand side was met in the air by Markus Ringberg who headed right at the Moss goal keeper.
Despite Moss having dominated the first half FFK were able to generate some excitement, especially through the work of forward Brian West. On several occasions West did well to spring an attack around the Moss penalty area only to see the half chance swept away by a well organized Moss defense.
In the 32nd minute West's hard work provided FFK with possibly their best opportunity of the first half. The quick forward received a return pass at the top of the area and sent in a low, well placed shot to the left post that forced Kristiansen into a full stretch in order to keep FFK off the board.
Moss pressure throughout the first half finally paid off at the stroke of halftime. Patrice Bernier ran onto a fine through ball that split FFK's defense open and his low shot from the left side slid beneath Sørlie for the 1-nil lead. The goal capped a dominating half by Moss that was marked by ragged play and a lot of nerves on both sides.
FFK made two substitutions at halftime and received immediate payoff. A series of quick passes unlocked the Moss defense and it was West's back heel to substitute Dag Frode Hornseth in the penalty area that provided the big forward the opening he needed to level the score. His shot from the right side of the box took a deflection and looped over the keeper and into the net.
Moss responded straight away upon restart and good play culminated in a dangerous shot inside the area that was saved for a corner. This type of back and forth action would typify the second half with both sides generating scoring opportunities throughout.
West appeared to tire in the final quarter of an hour as evidenced by his being caught lazily offside on two occasions. Despite his depleted reserves West provided a spark all evening for FFK and continued his offensive success that has seen him score two goals and assist three more in his last 3 matches.
Moss were reduced to 10 men in second half extra time when Joachim Walltin picked up his second yellow for clipping Håkan Søderstjerna from behind. FFK did not make the best of the man advantage during the two periods of extra time played, however. The two clubs only generated one real scoring opportunity each in the overtime periods and it seemed as if both teams had run out of gas.
Nerves were high heading into the penalty shootout and after the teams traded the first two sets of shots the tension had swelled to a boil. Then came Kristiansen's wonderful effort to keep out FFK's third penalty try and the Moss supporters began to believe. Brian West converted FFK's fourth penalty with a hard and high shot only to watch in helpless misery as Tom Riedar Haraldsen sent Moss into the next round.
It wasn't supposed to end that way though. When Fredrikstad were promoted to the Eliteserien at the end of last season emotions were riding high. It had been years since FFK had taken the field in the top flight and the success had many dreaming of greater glory. A poor start out of the gate this season has FFK in next to last place, however, and optimism has slowly turned to despair. With this latest downturn one can only imagine that changes are in the air for Fredrikstad FK.