BANGOR CITY'S pride at becoming the first Welsh club to play in two European club competitions became the prelude to a fall last night. They lost the first leg of their Uefa Cup qualifying round tie to Akranes and, equally importantly, conceded two away goals.
It was a night when their hopes went, well bang. Stored in the north Welsh memory banks is a stirring Cup-Winners' Cup performance in 1962 when they beat Napoli 2-0 at Farrar Road and only succumbed to the Italian giants after a play-off at Highbury. On this occasion, however, they only rarely threatened to unsettle the Icelandic champions and even then only for the first 40 minutes.
Bangor, deprived of six first team players by injury and ineligibility, at first managed to suppress their more gifted and experienced opponents with a mixture of graft and tactical craft. But Siggi Jonsson, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal midfield player, had looked the most accomplished footballer on the pitch and it was his silky cajoling that allowed the smooth to suppress the rough and tumble of the Welsh.
First, he was involved in the Akranes build up that probed Bangor's left flank before Palmi Haraldsson found a weakness in the defence with a pass to Kari Steinn Reynisson. The winger cut inside and then hit a low left-foot shot inside Nigel Atkins' near post. Jonsson then arrived in the Welsh penalty area to side-foot into the net after a corner had been cleared and then returned by Olafur Tordarson's deflective shot.
The two goals had been scored two minutes either side of half- time but to the Welsh champions' credit they fought ferociously for something to take with them to Iceland and they were rewarded after 53 minutes by Frank Mottram's header from Steve Humphrey's cross.
Encouraged by a 3,426 crowd they continued to attack until fatigue gripped them in the last 10 minutes. By then the inescapable feeling was that they had accomplished too little too late.
Bangor City (4-4-2): Adkins; Jones, Rutter, Wiggins, Middleton; Humphreys, Evans, Noble, Mottram; Lloyd-Williams (MacLennan, 83), Barnet.
Akranes (4-1-4-1): T Thordarson; S Haraldssan, Adolfson, Miljkovic, Hervarsson; Jonsson; SteinnReynisson (Tordarson, 84), P Haraldssan, O Thordarson, Ingolfsson; Bibercic (Petursson, 80).
Referee: V Pereire (Portugal).Reuse content