RECAP: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
Josh Gatt played his part in helping Molde score an important road win over a tired Aalesunds FK team while Kyle Helton put in a rare 90-minute performance for Mjøndalen in their road win over Nybergsund.
Viking Stavanger 1 - 0 Stabaek IF
Mikkel Diskerud and Stabaek were unable to make their strong defensive effort pay off, giving up a late goal on their trip to Viking Stavanger on Sunday.
While Stabaek had gone five straight without a loss prior to Sunday's game, history pointed to a win for the hosts as Diskerud and his teammates had managed only a single point in their previous six visits to Viking Stadion.
A sloppy first half by both teams saw the game enter the second half scoreless, and even after the break neither team looked ready to take control or break through for a score.
It took a poor clearance by the Stabaek defense in the 73rd minute to finally decide the outcome, as the ball landed at the foot of King Osei Gyan just outside the area, for a blast which was well out of the reach of keeper Jon Knudsen.
Stabaek were unable to mount any serious comeback charge, with the three points ending up in the pockets of relegation strugglers Viking.
Stabaek remain fourth despite the loss, still within reach of the Tippeligaen's European qualification spots. They will next take the field when they host Tromsø on the Friday following the international break.
Aalesunds FK 1 - 3 Molde FK
Josh Gatt helped force a first-minute own-goal by hosts Aalesunds FK, as Molde surged to a strong victory to further extend their division lead.
Gatt played the full game at right back, while fellow American Sean Cunningham was an unused substitute on the bench.
Molde were off and running, jumping ahead just moments after the opening whistle when Gatt fired a cross from the endline to the right of goal directly at the near post. The keeper was in position to grab it easily, however failed to hold on to the ball, deflecting it over the line for an embarrassing own-goal and a gifted early lead to the visitors.
Three minutes before the half-hour, a series of quick one-touch passes by Molde on a counter ended with Davy Claude Angan finding Magne Hoseth in the middle. Hoseth made a one-step cut to his left and hit his shot straight down the center for 1-0.
Aalesunds settled down after the early pair of setbacks, however Molde succeeded in adding a third with 15 minutes left, when a poorly cleared corner left the ball at the foot of El-Hadji Makhtar Thioune for a 22-yard blast to remove any question of a comeback.
Aalesund did grab a consolation goal in the first minute of injury time when the ball popped to Magnus Sylling Olsen who was all alone on the left side of the box for an easy shot, however the final whistle sounded moments later, confirming the win to the visitors.
Molde now have an eight-point lead atop the Tippeligaen with nine games left to play. They next host third-place Brann Bergen following the break.
Alta IF 1 - 4 Hønefoss BK
Steve Clark and Hønefoss moved one step closer to their goal of promotion back to the Norwegian top flight, scoring a big road win over Alta IF on Sunday.
Hønefoss effectively put the game away within the first half our, scoring a trio of goals in rapid succession to guarantee the win.
In the 18th minute, Kevin Bosse Beugre stuck his foot out to tap in a cross from Rune Bolseth at close range, then four minutes later Beugre pulled down a long ball and held onto it under heavy pressure, before laying it off to Remond Mendy for a shot from distance which went in off the keeper's hand.
They made it 3-0 in the 28th minute, with Bolseth delivering a fine free kick from the left side which Kristjan Örn Sigurdsson connected with in midair to redirect into the net.
It took a full 11 minutes longer for Hønefoss to get their fourth goal. Moments after Alta Petter Larsen was shown a straight red for knocking over Beugre on a clear breakaway, Bolseth put away the resulting free kick from 20 yards out for 4-0.
Alta did calm down and prevent any further goals by their opponents and did get one consolation in the 52nd minute on a lob by Håvard Nome which flew over Clark's grasp, however the damage was already done, with Hønefoss having no problems to hang on for the important win.
Clark and his teammates are now in prime position for automatic promotion to the Tippeligaen, as they are in second place with a margin of two points over Ranheim, with an equal number of games played as the group of teams chasing behind.
Adeccoligaen play continues through the international break, with a home game against seventh-place Bryne awaiting on Sunday.
Ranheim IL 1 - 2 Ham-Kam
Jonathan Borrajo and Ham-Kam kept themselves in the race for promotion, netting their second straight win and pushing their current unbeaten streak to four games with an important road win over erstwhile second-place team Ranheim IL.
Ranheim were in control early, taking the lead in the fifth minute when a weak attempt at a back-pass by Ham-Kam defender Vegar Bjerke was intercepted in the area by Jo Sondre Aasm, who slotted home from six yards out.
Ham-Kam kept their cool and equalized five minutes later, as a corner from John Anders Rise rattled around in the six-yard box just long enough to allow Kristoffer Hagen to poke it over the line.
The game looked headed for a draw until Bjerke atoned for his earlier mistake with 15 minutes left in regulation. Thomas Lehne Olsen slotted a pass from the right edge of the area back to Bjerke at the top edge, where he struck the ball with his first touch, sending it floating into the upper left corner for the winner.
Ham-Kam still remain in sixth place following the weekend's round of games, and will not again take the field until after the international break when they visit Sandnes Ulf.
Nybergsund IL 0 - 1 Mjøndalen IF
Kyle Helton got a rare start in Mjøndalen's midfield on Sunday, helping them to maintain a shut-out as they grabbed all three points on their trip to relegation-bound Nygerbsund.
The lone goal of the game came early, when the Nybergsund defense failed to clear a Mjøndalen corner from the area, eventually giving Martin Strange the chance to put it away with a blast from the right side of the area.
Both teams had their chances throughout the remainder of the game, although without the precision on the final attack to capitalize, with the early goal being the ultimate decider.
Mjøndalen push up to tenth place with the win, how with a four-point pad over the relegation places. They play through the international break, with a Sunday-evening home game against Alta IF next on the schedule.
Joseph Bendik was on Sogndal's bench on Sunday as backup keeper for their 3-0 road win over Lillestrøm.
Sandefjord backup keeper Colin Burns watched his team's 2-1 win on the road over Løv-Ham from the bench on Sunday.