Europa League third qualifying round: Connah’s Quay 1 Partizan Belgrade 0.
Connah’s Quay will travel to Partizan Belgrade next week needing to overturn a one-goal deficit after they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Belle Vue.
Partisan were able to overcome a stubborn display from Connah’s Quay when Aleksandar Scekic struck in the second half.
Fresh off their famous win over Kilmarnock in the previous round, a typically battling performance saw the Nomads keep Partizan at bay until shortly after the hour-mark.
The visitors finally made the breakthrough when Scekic fired in a well-taken volley beyond impressive Nomads keeper Lewis Brass.
Connah’s Quay, with their never-say-die spirit, will still feel they have a part to play in this tie but former Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic – now manager of Partizan Belgrade– will be wondering how his side are not going into their home leg with a more advantageous lead.
Much like their previous escapades, Andy Morrison’s side set out to once again frustrate and pack bodies behind the ball. The Serbians were assured in possession and were able to work the ball through to the edge of the Connah’s Quay box, but repeatedly found themselves unable to get a clear sight of goal with the Nomads packing bodies in front of them.
Zoran Tosic, briefly of Manchester United, worked a neat one-two before overstretching as he shot wide in the sixth minute.
The Serbians looked to press ahead with their early dominance in possession and were very nearly gifted an opportunity to score when a poorly taken goal kick dropped straight to striker Umar Sadiq, but the Nigerian could only manage a tame finish.
As the half wore on, Partizan’s frustrations become more apparent. None more so than when a Connah’s Quay corner resulted in a brief scuffle in the Partizan goalmouth in which goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic raised a hand to Nomads skipper George Horan, resulting in both getting cautions.
Having only managed one shot on target in the first half, Partizan Belgrade wasted no time testing Lewis Brass after the re-start as half-time substitute Djordje Ivanovic charged into the area from the left wing, forcing Brass to beat away a powerful shot aimed at his near post.
Partizan’s sustained pressure would eventually paid dividends when Slobodan Urosevic’s delivery from the left was headed down by Tosic into the path of Scekic, who cleanly struck the ball into the net past diving Brass.
A second goal seemed imminent as the Serbian’s maintained their grip on the game but it was the tiring Nomads who dug in to finish strongly as they sought one final foray forward in the closing stages.
Callum Roberts somehow found a new lease of life in the final minute as he out-paced his opposing full-back to flash an inviting ball across the face of the Partizan goal, with Michael Wilde just unable to make a connection.
An up-hill struggle awaits, but it won’t be anything that Connah’s Quay haven’t faced before.
Nomads: Brass; Disney, Horan, Holmes, Roberts; Poole, Owen, Morris, Woolfe (58′ Bakare); Wilde, Insall (73′ Farquharson).
This report originally appeared on Dai-Sport.com.