’Well crash out in Euro qualifier

Josh Law set up Lionel Ainsworth for Motherwell's second goal
Josh Law set up Lionel Ainsworth for Motherwell's second goal

Motherwell’s fell at the first hurdle in their bid to qualifying for the Europa League after losing to Stjarnan in Iceland.

Despite taking the lead twice in the second qualifying round tie ’Well were undone by Atli Johannsson’s extra time winner to go out 5-4 on aggregate.

With the tie poised at 2-2 following the first leg at Fir Park the visitors knew they had to score and made the perfect start.

After just ten minutes STEVIE HAMMELL grabbed his first goal for four years as he headed in a Lionel Ainsworth corner.

The ball then fell to Hammell from another corner, but he elected to clip the ball back into the box and Ingvar Jonsson gathered.

Keith Lasley then went close as he drilled a shot just wide.

It looked as if ’Well’s night was getting even better as Stjarnan danger man Veigar Pall Gunnarsson limped off and was replaced by Rolf Toft.

The substitute had a shot blocked by Hammell and then had a hand on the home side’s equaliser in 36 minutes as he was fouled by Lasley.

Olafur Karl Finsen stepped up to face Dan Twardzik from the spot for the third time within a week.

The last two had seen him put the ball low to the goalkeeper’s left and that is where Twardzik dived, but FINSEN this time drive the ball high up the middle.

Right on half-time Jonsson pulled off a great save to deny Lasley’s volley as the sides went in level at the break.

Craig Reid’s cross was deflected onto the post before on 66 minutes ’Well regained the lead as AINSWORTH volleyed in Josh Law’s cross.

It looked like they were set for a date with Lech Poznan in the next round, but five minutes from the end TOFT burst through to crash the equaliser into the top corner.

In extra-time Stuart Carswell limped off to be replaced by Jack Leitch, and Jonsson did well to deny Lasley and John Sutton.

With eight minutes to go disaster struck as JOHANNSSON strode forward and with no one closing him down hit a dipping shot from 30 yards that went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Stjarnan: Jonsson, Vemmelund, Laxdal, Rauschenberg, Arnason, Bjorgvinsson (Palsson 104), Johannsson, Punyed, Praest, Finsen, Gunnarsson (Toft 24) (Aegisson 108). Subs not used: Svinn, Johannesson, Heiddal, Runarsson, Barddal.

Motherwell: Twardzik; Reid, Ramsden, McManus, Hammell; Carswell (Leitch 95), Lasley; Ainsworth (Kerr 77), Law (Francis-Angol 77), Vigurs; Sutton. Subs not used: Nielsen, McHugh, Erwin, Thomas.

Referee: Athanassios Giachos.

Attendance: 1,021.