Village side enjoy taste of Europe

Llansantffraid 1 Ruch Chorzow 1
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The Independent Online
Llansantffraid, the little village side who won the Welsh Cup last season, enjoyed their first taste of European football last night. A late, scrambled equaliser means they go to Poland in two weeks' time on level terms for the second leg of this Cup-Winners' Cup qualifying round tie.

On paper this had looked a total mismatch. Ruch Chorzow have won the Polish championship 14 times. Llansantffraid boasted of 10 titles in their programme - but nine of those were won in the Montgomeryshire Amateur League.

On the Racecourse Ground's rain-soaked grass, however, the gap between the sides did not seem so great, despite an early goal for the Poles. Arkadiusz Bak was given time and space on the right flank in the sixth minute, and his cross was headed home powerfully from 15 yards by Dariusz Gesior.

The locals feared that more goals would soon follow but that did not happen. The Poles were clearly quicker and slicker, but Llansantffraid were their equals in spirit and commitment. Admittedly Andy Mulliner was the busier goalkeeper but the Chorzow defence had some nervous moments, too.

While Chorzow's approach play was neat, their finishing was lazy and the Welshmen found some extra strength and purpose. Simon Abbercrombie was just off target with a 25-yard drive and then, in the 83rd minute, the equaliser arrived.

Abbercrombie's left-wing free-kick was cleared out to Thomas on the right, and his cross-shot was deflected in, with the last touch inadvertently going to Gesior. Mulliner, with a brilliant save from Witold Wawrzyczek, and Mike Brown, with a clearance off the line, ensured that the Welshmen were not beaten.

Llansantffraid (1-4-3-2): Mulliner; Brown; J Whelan, Thomas, Arwel Jones, Curtiss; Adrian Jones, Evans, Abbercrombie; Morgan (Davies, 77), Edwards (C Whelan, 84).

Ruch Chorzow (1-2-5-2): Kolodziejczyk; Grzeski; Fornalak, Pieniazek; Rowicki (Wawrzyczek, 68), A Bak, Jaworski, Gesior, Mosor; Srutwa (Mizia, 77), M Bak.

Referee: E Olafsson (Iceland).