DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Jonathan Borrajo helped Ham-Kam extend their unbeaten run in a high-scoring affair while Josh Gatt had a short shift for Molde, subbing out with an apparent injury in their blowout win over Aalesunds FK.
Brann Bergen 2 - 1 Stabaek IF
Mikkel Diskerud was in Stabaek's starting lineup at the top of the attack on Sunday as a loss on the road to Brann Bergen saw them fall further off the pace of the league's leading teams.
After pressuring in the early going, Brann took the lead two minutes before the half-hour mark, as Rodolph Austin settled a throw in at his feet on the right side and sent a cross into the box, which Kim Ojo knocked in on the volley from six yards out.
Continually threatening to do further damage, Brann successfully doubled the lead four minutes before the break. Lars Grorud hit a long pass from his own backfield, which Erik Mjelde, who had slipped behind the defense, ran onto and slotted home from 12 yards for the 2-0 lead.
A gift from the Brann defense allowed Stabaek to pull one back in the 72nd minute, as Vegard Hedenstad stole the ball deep in Brann territory and charged towards goal. After his short pass to Veigar Páll Gunnarsson was flicked back to him, he connected with the acute-angled shot in midair, putting it past the keeper for 2-1.
Both teams were close on multiple occasions in the closing 20 minutes, but neither was able to break through, with the referee's whistle finally awarding the 2-1 win to the hosts.
Stabaek drop into the bottom half of the standings with the loss, now in ninth place. They, along with the rest of the teams in Norway, have a much-needed two-week break before hosting reigning champions Rosenborg Trondheim on Sunday, July 17.
Molde FK 5 - 2 Aalesunds FK
Josh Gatt had a slight scare, being forced out of the game just before halftime, however Molde nevertheless had few problems to beat visiting Aalesunds by a large margin thanks to an incredible four-goal performance from Pape Pate Diouf.
American defender Sean Cunningham did not make Molde's bench this time around, and is still awaiting his first-ever league appearance.
Diouf nabbed his first goal of the game in the 11th minute as he one-timed a corner from Wolff Eikrem just inside the right post, however AaFK equalized almost immediately, with Kjell Rune Sellin powering through a crowd of defenders before slotting home from just outside the area two minutes later.
Molde took the lead for good two minutes before the half-hour, with El Hadji Makhtar Thioune receiving the ball in the center of the penalty area from Davy Claude Angan and charging through a pair of Aalesunds defenders before side-footing the ball into goal for 2-1.
Gatt left the game two minutes before halftime with a leg injury, however it did little to affect Molde, who charged towards the blowout in the latter part of the second half.
Diouf added his second of the game when a pass from Daniel Chukwu Chima deflected off a defender and landed at his feet, allowing him to easily sink the point-blank shot in the 78th minute.
AaFK's Demar Phillips did momentarily pull his team to within a single goal with six minutes left from the spot after Diouf pulled down Christian Myklebust as the two fought for a ball in the box, but the Senegalese striker almost immediately atoned for his mistake.
After taking the ball off of a defender near midfield in the 87th minute he stormed ferociously down the field and had no problems to beat Sten Grytebust for 4-2, then netted his fourth of the evening well into injury time, volleying a long free kick from Magne Hoseth to complete the blowout.
The result now gives Molde a three-point lead over second-place Tromsø IL after the weekend's action, although Tromsø do still have a pair of games in hand. Gatt will hope to be recovered from his injury for Molde's next game, when they host FK Haugesund on July 17.
Kongsvinger IL 3 - 3 Ham-Kam
Jonathan Borrajo played the full 90 minutes in Ham-Kam's defense, serving up an assist on their second tally as they came back from a two-goal deficit to pull even with Kongsvinger on Sunday.
Kongsvinger jumped to an early lead, as Christian Aas sent the unmarked Ørjan Berg Hansen through on goal, where he beat Ham-Kam keeper Ivar Rønningen for the easy 1-0 in the 12th minute.
Ham-Kam equalized in the 49th minute when a blocked shot fell to Emil Dahle to put away, however Kongsvinger regained the lead in the 67th after Magnus Solum ran onto a perfect long pass from Samir Fazlagic and sent his blast to the far post for 2-1.
They extended the lead to two goals with eight minutes remaining in the game as Lars Christian Krogh Gerson lobbed a ball across the area to Olav Tuelo Johannesen for a shot back to the far post.
Ham-Kam kept fighting to avoid their first loss in nearly two months, and staged a dramatic comeback in the final minutes of regulation.
Borrajo was the catalyst for the first in the 88th minute, sending a cross from just outside of the area to the far side for Pål Alexander Kirkevold to head in.
On the ensuing kickoff, Håkon Aalmen picked out Emil Dahle, who ran practically unimpeded into the area after his marking defender fell down, and had no problems to put the ball past Kongsvinger keeper Tobias Holmen Johansen for the equalizer.
Despite avoiding a loss, this result does drop Ham-Kam to second place in the Adeccoligaen standings, two points behind Ranheim IL. They have two weeks before they host fourth-place Sandnes Ulf.
Sandnes Ulf 1 - 0 Hønefoss BK
Steve Clark was in goal for Hønefoss on Sunday, as the team was unable to overcome a first-half deficit to Sandnes Ulf in a tough road loss.
Kenneth Di Vita Jensen played the final half-hour for the visitors as a second-half substitute.
The lone goal of the game was scored just before the half hour mark, as Steinthor Thorsteinsson was taken down in the Hønefoss penalty area, allowing Aksel Berget Skjølsvik to beat Clark from the spot.
Honefoss drop to fifth place, and will next host Kongsvinger IL on July 17.
Joseph Bendik was on Sogndal's bench as backup keeper on Sunday for the team's 1-1 road draw against IK Start.
Kyle Helton was a last-minute substitute for Mjøndalen on Sunday for their scoreless draw at home against Bryne FK. Rhett Bernstein is out for the long-haul for Mjøndalen as he recovers from knee surgery.
Colin Burns did not take the field for Sandefjord on Sunday for their 2-1 win at home over Løv-Ham.