DAVID SMITH - Monday, April 8, 2013
A fourth straight win by Conor O'Brien and Nordsjaelland brought the Wild Tigers back into the title race while Babajide Ogunbiyi netted the winning goal in Hjørring's win over Hobro.
AC Horsens 0 - 2 FC Nordsjaelland
Conor O'Brien was rested amidst Nordsjaelland's busy schedule, but played the final 10 minutes on Sunday as the team had few problems to record a road shut-out victory over AC Horsens.
Nordsjaelland came into the game in the midst of a five-game unbeaten run, and despite fielding a slightly weakened lineup due to a heavy run of games, they still had little problem to stay undefeated in the new year.
After coming painfully close on multiple occasions in the first half-hour, 20 year-old midfielder Lasse Petry put the team ahead with his first-ever goal for the team. A poor clearance popped high and fell to Petry just outside the area. He chested it down to his feet, took one touch to build momentum and proceeded to launch a cannon of a shot into the right side of goal.
The Wild Tigers continued to push in the second half, and added the insurance goal in the 72nd minute when Morten Nordstrand headed in a fine cross from the left side by Patrick Mtiliga.
O'Brien entered with nine minutes in regulation in place of youth-team striker Kristian Lindberg, and helped the team maintain their two-goal advantage through the final whistle.
With league leaders Copenhagen once again slipping in their weekend draw with Odense, the Wild Tigers suddenly find themselves in a position to apply pressure on the league leaders.
The current gap to first is still seven points, however with Nordsjaelland set to host Copenhagen next Monday, they could very well reduce the gap to four points - which is two less than their deficit behind the leaders exactly one year before when they eventually went on to win the title.
Randers FC 0 - 1 Brøndby IF
Charlie Davies was a second-half substitute for Randers on Sunday while Clarence Goodson watched the entirety of the game from the bench as Brøndby climbed further towards safety with a narrow victory.
Brøndby striker Simon Makienok was a constant nuisance to the Randers defense throughout the game, coming close on numerous occasions and finally putting away the second-half winner.
Quincy Antipas put in a pinpoint-perfect cross from the left flank in the 59th minute, and Makienok beat the keeper's late lunge to head the ball in for the 1-0 lead.
Davies had seen a greatly increased role as of late, and was brought on after 73 minutes in place of starting striker Ronnie Schwartz in hopes of helping Randers nick an equalizer, but the visitors held on strongly to take the win.
Brøndby are still far from clear, but are now holding a three-point cushion ahead of the bottom two with seven games to go. They will be back on the field on Sunday when they host 11th-place SønderjyskE in a crucial six-pointer.
The loss likely ends Randers' hopes of capturing the league's second Champions League qualification spot as they now trail second-place Nordsjaelland by seven. They will hit the road to take on Esbjerg on Sunday.
Vejle BK Kolding 3 - 1 Skive IK
RJ Allen played the full game in Skive's defense, as the team was undone by a second-half collapse on their trip to Vejle.
Former Skive forward Andreas Albers put Vejle in front after 35 minutes when he was left with too much space in the area and made no mistake with his finish, however the visitors pulled even three minutes before the half with a fine shot from distance by Ayinde Jamiu Lawal.
Vejle needed only six minutes after the start of the second half to restore their lead with Nicolaj Agger cleaning up after Bedi Buval's shot was initially blocked, then Godwin Antwi made Skive pay for a poor work on a corner for the final 3-1 score.
Skive drop to 10th place with the loss, and have a slim three-point advantage over AB Copenhagen and the one relegation spot still up for grabs. They return to the field on Sunday with a visit to Fredericia.
FC Hjørring 3 - 1 Hobro IK
Babajide Ogunbiyi netted the winning late goal for Hjørring on Sunday afternoon, doing his part to help the team to an important win over Hobro.
Hobro took the lead midway through the first half when Kasper Fisker beat new arrival Maxime Annys at the edge of the area to make space for a fine score, but Hjørring prevented any further damage and dominated the final 30 minutes of play to secure the win.
First, Patrick Pedersen headed in a fine cross from Lasse Strandberg in the 61st minute to pull the hosts even, the Ogunbiyi headed in from close range in the 81st minute when Annys took advantage of an uncleared corner to set up the defender with a nice follow-up cross in front of goal.
Annys, making his first appearance for the club, was given an early exit from the game with three minutes remaining for a second yellow, but it was of little consequence, as Hjørring added a third in injury time when Thomas Hansen finished off a counter-attack.
Hjørring climb to four point clear of the drop zone with the win, and will need to carry any momentum they might have gained over to next Friday's home game against league leaders Vejle.