DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Ryan Miller helped Halmstads BK secure their return to the Swedish top flight, playing the full 90 minutes in defense as a high-scoring loss at Sundsvall was not enough to flip their first-leg lead.
Already carrying a three-goal lead from the first leg of the promotion/relegation playoff one week before, Halmstad knew only a collapse of epic proportions would deny them a spot in next season's Allsvenskan, and they never let their hosts Sundsvall anywhere close to a turnaround.
Sundsvall did take a 29th-minute lead after Simon Helg hit from outside of the box, however this only lasted for four minutes until Gudjón Baldvinsson was fouled in the area, allowing Kristinn Steindórsson to equalize from the spot.
Helg turned provider to put the hosts back ahead three minutes before the half, setting up Fredrik Holster for an acute-angled shot to give the team some hope of staging a remarkable comeback after the break.
Baldvinsson, however, struck what was perhaps the fatal blow when he pulled Halmstad even in the 68th minute, tracking down a long ball and rounding Oscar Berglund before tapping into the open net.
An own-goal once again put Sundsvall ahead with 14 minutes to go, but this was canceled out a mere two minutes later when Mikael Boman intercepted a pass deep in the hosts' territory and punished the keeper for the 3-3 equalizer.
Helg netted his second of the day with nine minutes left to give the hosts a largely inconsequential winning scoreline for the game, however it was of no consequence, as Halmstad celebrated the overall 6-4 aggregate win and a return to the Allsvenskan.
Halmstad will have several months off until the group stage of the Swedish Cup as well as their domestic league campaign kick off in March 2013.
Miller, however, will likely be in a different uniform at the time as his contract with Halmstad is set to run out at the end of this year.