Bangor City 2 (Morley 85, Jones 90+)
Honka Espoo 1 (Koskinen 20)
Europa League first qualifying round – July 22, 2010 (City won 3-2 on aggregate)
Ten years ago tonight Bangor City celebrated one of the greatest results in their history.
After an outstanding 1-1 draw in Finland, Neville Powell’s side recovered from 1-0 down at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, seven days later to beat full-timers Honka Espoo 3-2 on aggregate thanks to two late goals.
A crowd of 954 witnessed the Citizens win just their second-ever European tie, but the turnout seemed much bigger due to the electric atmosphere inside the ground.
Bangor’s only previous tie victory in Europe came in 1985-86 when they pipped Fredrikstad of Norway on away goals in the Uefa Cup.
Included in City’s team was midfielder Neville Powell, who 25 years later experienced a European triumph again as a manager with the same club.
After both sides wasted early free kicks it was the dangerous Nicholas Otaru who threatened with a mazy run on the right which ended in a goalbound shot that Jamie Brewerton bravely blocked.
Next, Hermanni Vuorinen drew a save from Paul Smith, the Finns forced a couple of corners and Rasmus Schuller went close twice in quick succession.
On the 20-minute mark the fears of the blue horde came true. Cutting in from the right Sampo Koskinen teed the ball up outside the box and unleashed a fierce strike past a stunned Smith.
Honka had the lead and an away goal. Jami Puustinen and goalscorer Koskinen went close to adding to the advantage as Bangor looked to Michael Johnston and the industrious Brewerton to stand firm.
As half time beckoned Eddie Jebb cut in from the right and forced a save from Tuomas Peltonen but Honka responded with a header from Ville Koskimaa which Smith saved well.
However Bangor ended the half brightly with Sion Edwards and Les Davies exerting some pressure – and exposing a more brittle side to the visitors’ defence.
When Koskimaa fouled Davies 25 yards out it was Edwards’ low drive which so nearly crept inside the right-hand upright.
HALF TIME 1-0
No changes at half time, but with Bangor continuing to push Chris Jones forward alongside Davies, cracks started to appear in the Finns’ defence.
But it was the visitors who might have doubled their advantage when Schuller’s inswinging corner was headed off his line by Johnston.
Otaru and Demba Savage went close for Honka as they pressed for a decisive second goal.
On 62 minutes Alan Bull replaced Jebb, lining up alongside Davies with Chris Jones moving to the right wing.
Honka won a corner delivered by Schuller but Vuorinen missed the target.
Bangor got into their stride and in a goalmouth melee Jones has a shot blocked and hacked away.
Chris Roberts was fouled on the left by Otaru, took the free-kick and Davies fired on target but Peltonen pulled off a good low save.
With 15 minutes left Peter Hoy sent over a trademark long throw which fell to Edwards, but he fired over from the left. Honka countered and Smith did well to keep out substitute Jussi Vasara.
Bangor began to push forward more and Honka again looked unsure.
Jones and Edwards went close. Then on 85 minutes Jones won and Edwards delivered a corner which Dave Morley headed home from close range.
All square in terms of goals on the night and over the two legs.
Otaru and Savage both went close for Honka before the fourth official indicated three minutes of added time.
And it was Bangor who stunned the visitors when Hoy’s long throw allowed Jones to nip in to score from close range after Nicky Ward has shanked his 15-yard effort.
Some amazing scenes followed but Bangor still had two minutes to navigate.
However, it was the hosts who went closest to scoring again through sub Bull.
A stunning night for the Citizens.
Bangor City: Paul Smith, Peter Hoy, Chris Roberts, Michael Johnston, James Brewerton, Dave Morley, Eddie Jebb (Alan Bull 62), Nicky Ward, Les Davies, Sion Edwards, Chris Jones. Unused subs: Andy Mulliner, Clive Williams, Matty Hurdman, Marc Limbert, John Owen.