RECAP: WEEKEND SWEDISH ACTION
Ryan Miller shined as Halmstad picked up three big points against Angelholm while Patrick Hopkins and Ljungskile saw their three match unbeaten streak come to an end.
Angelholm FF 0 - 2 Halmstad BK
In the midst of a fierce promotion battle, Ryan Miller and third place Halmstad traveled to take on fourth place Angelholm. Miller played the full 90 minutes at right back for HBK, providing an assist in the process.
Miller got himself involved in the 16th minute when, after receiving a pass from Gudjon Baldvinsson, he dribbled to the corner of the Angelholm penalty box and found the head of a diving Mikael Boman with a right footed cross which made the score 1-0.
AFF clearly missed first choice keeper, American Matt Pyzdrowski who's out with after sustaining a serious concussion two weeks ago, on Halmstad's second goal in the 51st minute. A terrible blunder from 22 year old replacement keeper Hampus Nilsson gifted the insurance goal to HBK. Kristoffer Fagercrantz, on loan from Kalmar FF, struck a seemingly innocent free kick from 35 yards out. After bouncing five yards in front of Nilsson, the young Swedish keeper froze, allowing the ball to trickle into the lower right corner of the net to give Fagercrantz a goal in his first match for Halmstad.
The win brings Halmstad within second place Brommapojkarna while Angelholm stay in fourth with the loss.
Next weekend both clubs begin their Svenska Cup campaigns with Halmstad travelling to take on fifth tier side Ronneby BK while Angelholm will be hosted by fourth tier side Torns IF.
Varberg BoIS 3 - 1 Ljungskile SK
It was a rude awakening for Patrick Hopkins and Ljungskile against Varberg on Saturday. A remarkable 335 minute stretch of shutout soccer for Ljungskile, a streak which spanned over three and a half matches, came to a crashing halt in just the second minute en route to their first loss of the second half of the Superettan season.
Jonathan Berg gave Varberg the edge in a mere 78 seconds. There was nothing Markus Sandberg could do in Ljungskile's net as Berg cut in from his right wing postion and blistered a shot towards net from 25 yards out.
Varberg extended their lead in the 22nd minute through Patrik Larsson. Gabriel Vanneryr drew the defense by making a nice run and then found his fellow striker 12 yards out. Upon receiving the pass, Larsson slotted home to make the score 2-0.
Tobias Mikaelsson fought back for Ljungskile in the 26th minute. Mikaelsson capitalized on some slopping passing out of the back from Varberg and sent a beautiful chip into the net from just outside the penalty area to resuscitate Ljungskile's hope's for the match, making the score 2-1.
It was a day to forget for Hopkins and company along Ljungskile's backline, as a defensive blunder allowed Varberg to seal the match in the 81st minute. Hopkins and the Ljungskile defense failed to adequately clear a Varberg corner, allowing Larsson to grab his second goal of the match as he was able to poke home the insurance goal through a forest of Ljungskile defenders.
Despite the loss, Ljungskile remain in fifth place in the Superettan but are now eight points shy of third place Halmstad, who occupy the last spot in the promotion playoffs.
Both clubs are participating in Svenska Cup action next weekend with Varberg travelling to take on third tier Motala AIF while Ljungskile are away against fourth tier Selanger FK.
Assyriska FF 1 - 1 Hammarby IF
Baggio Husidic logged another 90 minutes in Hammarby's midfield as Bajen went on the road and picked up a point against Assyriska.
Billy Schuler, who has made 15 appearances for the Stockholm side this season, wasn't on Hammarby's 18 man roster for the game.
Hammarby got on the wrong side of the scoreboard within minutes as Fuad Hyseni put Assyriska ahead in the 6th minute. Hyseni received a pass from Nahir Besara along the left sideline and proceeded to cut in onto his right foot. Hyseni teed up a shot from the edge of the box and drilled it into the far corner to make it 1-0.
Husidic put together a nice performance out of his holding midfielder role. In addition to an energetic shift which saw him disrupting the Assyriska midfield throughout the game, he almost helped Hammarby level the score 25 minutes from the final whistle. The Bosnian-American spotted Christoffer Hansebjer making a nice run through Assyriska's backline and, save for a fantastic clearance from an Assyriska defender, Hansebjer would have found himself in a one-on-one situation with the keeper.
Hammarby finally found the equalizer they had been looking for in stunning fashion. In the second minute of stoppage time Eric Figueroa received a pass from Max Forsberg in the center of the field. After taking a touch, Figueroa struck a lethal left footed shot from 30 meters. Assyriska keeper Robin Malmqvist was able to get a hand on the shot, but his slight deflection was not enough to keep it out of the net.
Both sides are in action this week as Svenska Cup action gets underway for sides in the Superettan and Allsvenskan, with Assyriska facing Ramlosa Sodra while Hammarby take on third tier side IK Sirius.
Alejandro Bedoya was in the stand to watch his new team, Helsingborg IF, beat Kalmar FF 7-2...Brian Span was an unused sub as Djurgarden beat Gefle 1-0.