Article dedicated to ardent Bangor City fan, the late Daniel Shooman, who was at the Racecourse cheering probably louder than anyone on this unforgettable night. Rest in Peace good friend.
Thanks also to Mike Smith of the Citizens Choice website for his help with match information
Bangor City 2 (Dave Morley 85, Chris Jones 90 + 1)
FC Honka 1 (Sampo Koskinen 20)
UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, second leg
Racecourse Ground – Wrexham, July 22, 2010
(Bangor won 3-2 on aggregate)
One of the greatest Welsh Premier League victories in Europe happened 11 years ago today.
Bangor City had already performed marvels to draw 1-1 in Finland against full-timers FC Honka on an unfamiliar 3G surface.
Chris Jones’ goal ensured the Citizens were level in the tie ahead of the return leg at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham seven days later.
By strange coincidence, these two teams had met in the Europa League at the same stage the previous season, Honka running out 3-0 winners on aggregate.
Neville Powell’s side took on the Finns again exactly 12 months later on a high having won the Welsh Cup for a third time in a row in May.
Bangor had previously won just one European tie in their history – versus Fredrikstad of Norway in 1985-86.
Of course there was that unforgettable 2-0 victory over Italian giants Napoli in 1962, but sadly the Welsh side eventually lost that epic battle in a third-game play-off.
Current manager Powell had played for City against Fredrikstad. Could he become the only Bangor City figure in history to win a European tie as a player and manager?
So to the second leg against Honka on July 22, 2010, in front of 954 spectators (it seemed like a lot more) at Wrexham.
After both sides wasted early free kicks it was the dangerous Nicholas Otaru of Honka who threatened with a mazy run on the right which ended in a goalbound shot that Jamie Brewerton bravely blocked.
Next Hermanni Vuorinen forced a save from Paul Smith. The Finns won 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 nearly added 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 stopped 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: Bangor 0 Honka 1 (1-2)
No changes at half time, but Bangor continued to push Chris Jones forward alongside Davies, and cracks started to appear in the Honka rearguard.
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 Gambian international Demba Savage went close for the Veikkausliiga outfit as they pressed for a decisive second goal.
On 62 minutes Alan Bull replaced Jebb and lined up alongside Davies with 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 had 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.
Bangor could have slipped two behind as Johnston lost possession in his own half, but his timely recovery saved the day.
With 15 minutes left on the clock Peter Hoy sent over a trademark long throw which fell to Edwards but he fired over.
Honka countered and Smith did well to keep out substitute Jussi Vasara.
City began to push forward more and Honka again looked unsure.
On 85 minutes – breakthrough! 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 Ward miss-hit his 15-yard effort.
S4C commentator Gary Pritchard wrote himself into folklore with his excited reaction which made Murray Walker resemble Ted Lowe and some amazing scenes followed, but Bangor still had two minutes to navigate.
This they did – in fact Bull could have made it 3-1 – and a famous victory was secured.
City went out to Maritimo of Portugal in the next round, but that season brought even bigger glory as in April 2011, Powell led the all-blues to the Welsh Premier League title.
Eddie Jebb (Alan Bull 62)
Markus Paatelainen (Jussi Vasara 62)
Goals – Bangor 2 Honka 1
Shots on target – Bangor 5 Honka 9
Shots off target – Bangor 5 Honka 11
Shots blocked – Bangor 2 Honka 3
Corners – Bangor 4 Honka 6
Offsides – Bangor 1 Honka 6
Yellow cards – Bangor 1 (Ward 80) Honka 0
Fouls committed – Bangor 17 Honka 9
Arman Amirkhanyan (ARMENIA)
Zaven Hovhannisyan (ARMENIA)
Artur Muradyan (ARMENIA)