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Queen of the South 1-2 FC Nordsjaelland: Lax defending proves costly for Queens

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 1 O'Connor (28) NORDSJAELLAND 2 Kibebe (2), Bernier (32)

SLOPPY defending undermined Queen of the South's European debut as Danish side Nordsjaelland claimed two soft away goals in the UEFA Cup second qualifying round in Airdrie.

Queen of the South's European debut survived two pitch inspections after ground staff at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium worked furiously to remove surface water from the pitch.

Hungarian referee Mihaly Fabian finally passed the soggy pitch fit for the UEFA Cup second qualifying round first leg just after 7pm.

Queens moved the game against the Danish side from their Palmerston home to Airdrie to accommodate more fans but two days of torrential rain had caused flooding in the Lanarkshire town.

The wet surface played a huge influence as Queens conceded the away goal they dreaded within two minutes.

Thomson slipped on his backside as he tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick and inadvertently knocked it out.

Patrice Bernier delivered the corner into the near post and the unmarked Benjamin Kibebe cushioned a volley high into the net to give the Danes, managed by former Celtic midfielder Morten Wieghorst, a huge advantage.

Chisholm had implored his players not to give away a soft goal but defender Kibebe only had a team-mate for company.

Queens were staring exit in the face when former Rangers striker Bajam Fetai cut the ball back for Morten Karlsen on the edge of the box but Steve Tosh slid in to steal it away.

The expectant home fans were deflated by the early goal and it took until the 15th minute for Paul Burns to lift their spirits with a mazy run into the box, but he and team-mate Stewart Kean got in each other's way.

Queens enjoyed a let-off a minute later when a pass from Soren Christiansen split their defence and, with only Bryn Halliwell to beat, Stephan Petersen struck the bar from 18 yards.

Petersen had another great chance when Jamie McQuilken allowed Martin Bernberg's through-ball to slide under his foot but the left-back recovered to stop the winger's shot on the line.

Queens levelled from their first chance in the 28th minute when Sean O'Connor guided a powerful header just underneath the bar from McQuilken's left-wing free-kick.

But the goal failed to settle them down as more slack defending cost them just four minutes later.

Left-back Simon Richter passed the ball inside the box for Bernier to escape the attention of three Queen of the South players and slide the ball underneath Halliwell.

The home side were inches from equalising from the same combination that provided their first goal but O'Connor's header bounced just wide following McQuilken's free-kick from the right flank.

The visitors' weakness in the air was apparent but Thomson headed a yard over from the penalty spot following Craig Reid's last-minute corner.

Chisholm brought on last season's top scorer Stephen Dobbie for Gary Arbuckle, and Queens took just two minutes of the second half to produce their best move of the night so far.

Burns crossed from the left and Kean chested the ball and volleyed down and into the hands of the diving Jesper Hansen. Moments later O'Connor was a fraction away from heading Dobbie's driven cross into the goalmouth.

The hosts were looking more purposeful in possession and Dobbie's low cross was turned behind by Hansen at his near post.

They were caught on the break when a long ball put Fetai in the clear, but Halliwell saved his low shot after Craig Reid raced back to put him under pressure.

The hosts continued to push forward and Craig Barr was unfortunate to see his header deflected wide by a team-mate following Tosh's corner.

Tosh's 25-yard strike dipped just over the bar and Burns set up Dobbie but his volley on the run lacked power.

Nordsjaelland still posed a threat and Fetai almost carved out a third with two inswinging free-kicks that drifted just past the far post.

And although Queen of the South drove forward in the latter stages, they failed to carve out the clear chances their second-half effort merited.

 
 
 

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