CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Friday, August 5, 2011
Josh Gatt notched a game-winner in impressive style for Molde, while Jonathan Borrajo helped Ham-Kam earn a point.
IK Start 1 - 2 Molde FK
For the second straight game, Michigan native Josh Gatt notched the second goal in a 2-1 scoreline, helping Molde maintain at least a three-point edge on Tromsø at the top of the Tippeligaen standings.
Gatt, who turns 20 at the end of August, started Thursday evening's affair in Kristensand and went the distance, scoring his second goal of the season just after the hour mark.
Looking unlike the league's weakest eleven, Start lit up the scoreboard first after a scoreless first half.
From deep in the midfield Petter Bruer Hanssen lofted in a pass towards the box that Espen Hoff nodded through for the unmarked Ole Martin Årst. The Start captain made no mistake from ten yards out, and one-timed past keeper Espen Bugge Pettersen for the 1-0 lead in the 51st minute.
Just two minutes later, the visitors claimed the equalizer thanks to halftime substitute Daniel Chukwu Chima. Although well-guarded by four Start players, the Nigerian took a pass from Magne Simonsen, skirted the left edge of the box, and flicked through traffic into the back of Kenneth Høie's net to even the score at one a piece.
Josh Gatt's winner came in the 62nd minute, after corralling a pass at the halfline, and charging downfield towards Start defender Jesper Mathisen. Entering the box, a Gatt stepover felled Mathisen, opening up space for Gatt to fire home past Høie to give the visitors a 2-1 lead and eventual win.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær's men travel to Rosenborg on Sunday to meet one of Norway's two Europa League contenders.
Hønnfoss BK 2 - 3 Sandefjord
Sandefjord moved up a spot in the standings on Thursday, surging to a three-goal lead and fending off a late outburst of goals from the hosts.
American keeper Steve Clark got the start but conceded one too many in the loss, while compatriot Colin Burns minded the reserve spot on the bench for Sandefjord.
Two strikes from captain Kenneth Dokken gave the visitors a comfortable lead, the first when he got on the end of a Panajotis Dimitriadis free kick at the half-hour mark. The second came on a penalty conversion past Clark in the 58th minute, after Hønnfoss defender Leo Olsen brought down Dimitriadis in the box.
Midfielder Ebrima Sohna added another for Sandefjord just four minutes later, when Ørjan Røyrane faced Clark one-on-one and laid off to the Gambian for the easy tap home and the 3-0 lead.
Within minutes Hønnfoss was back in the game with two quick strikes. Helge Haugen nabbed the first in the 67th minute off a Joachim Magnussen assist, and Ivorian Keven Beugre drove forward and laid off to Lennart Steffensen for the second just a minute later to bring the score to 3-2.
The visitors held off an attack for the win, bringing them into the third spot and relegating Hønnfoss to the fourth.
Hønnfoss regroup at home on Sunday and host struggling Randaberg.
HamKam 2 - 2 Bodø/Glimt
HamKam looked to run away with the win after getting two early goals, but the visitors surged back to leave it even after ninety.
American Jonathan Borrajo tended the backline for HamKam from start to finish.
HamKam's opener came on a penalty in the 34th minute, when defender Vegar Bjerke sent keeper Jonas Ueland Kolstad the other way for the 1-0 lead.
Vegar Bjerke add his third of the season in the 51st minute to double the advantage for the hosts.
Their lead did not last long as Bodø captain Christian Berg struck from 20 yards out past Ivar Rønningen just two minutes later. Thomas Rønning followed up in the 56th with a blast to left of Rønningen for the 2-2 equalizer.
With the 2-2 final, HamKam and Bodø remain in sixth and seventh, respectively. HamKam remain at home to host Løv-Ham on Sunday afternoon.
American keeper Joe Bendik watched from the bench as Sogndal teammate Kenneth Udjus conceded four in their 4-0 loss to Haugesund on Wednesday.
Neither Rhett Bernstein nor Kyle Helton were on bench for Mjøndalen IF's 3-1 win over Hødd.