Queen of the South's first European adventure ended in a brave 2-1 defeat (4-2 on aggregate) as they failed to reach the UEFA Cup first round. The First Division club were unable to overturn their second qualifying round first leg defeat to Nordsjaelland but were more than a match for their Danish top-flight opponents. Bob Harris' early stunner gave Queens real hope of an upset but the home side took advantage of their need for a second goal with two late Martin Bernburg strikes. Nordsjaelland drafted in Jonathan Richter for former Rangers player Bajram Fetai in their only change from the first leg. Queens boss Gordon Chisholm made three changes from the side beaten 2-1 in the first leg, on-loan Kilmarnock goalkeeper Cammy Bell replacing Bryn Halliwell. Jamie Adams and Harris came in for Jamie McQuilken and the injured Gary Arbuckle in a 4-5-1 formation.
Harris immediately justified his inclusion with a stunning second-minute opener. After Queens were awarded a free-kick 30 yards from goal, the ball was touched to the defender, who unleashed an unstoppable swerving drive into the net. Nordsjaelland recovered and almost levelled when Soren Christensen was first to a low cross, but he fired straight at Bell from 15 yards. Queens were denied a good opportunity to go ahead in the tie in the 18th minute when Benjamin Kibebe gave the ball away deep in his own half. The panicking defender responded by felling Sean O'Connor on the edge of the box, rightly earning a booking. Unfortunately, Stevie Tosh did not take full advantage and hit the wall with the resulting free-kick. As the half wore on the frustrated Danes were reduced to shooting from long range. Ten minutes before the break, the increasingly-assured visitors again went close to doubling their lead when Paul Burns burst forward and released Stewart Kean, who was put off by a last-ditch challenge and blazed over. And with just over a minute to go till half time, a brilliant Queens break was let down by a poor final cross by Burns, which was pounced on by Jesper Hansen. There was still time for a scare on the stroke of half-time when Richter's fizzing ball was poked over by Bernburg.
The opening 10 minutes of the second half were scrappy, Stephan Petersen booked for a cynical foul on Kean as Queens looked to break from a corner. Patrice Bernier then wasted a great chance to equalise on the night with a tame finish after neat interplay inside the box. Nordsjaelland were beginning to get on top and Chisholm responded by withdrawing Adams for Stephen Dobbie shortly after the hour mark. Spaces were starting to open up in midfield and Richter had plenty of time to take aim and send a 25-yard rocket narrowly wide. Queens went straight down the other end and fashioned their best chance of the night, O'Connor and Dobbie exchanging passes before the former's left-foot finish hit the legs of the sprawling Hansen. But the goalkeeper nearly gifted Queens the goal they needed with 14 minutes remaining when he punched the ball straight to Burns, who shot too close to a relieved Hansen. The visitors were becoming increasingly desperate and were caught upfield in the 85th minute as Henrik Kildentoft broke away and crossed for Bernburg to sidefoot the hosts level. Another Queens goal would have taken the tie to extra-time but all hope was extinguished in the final minute when a long ball forward found Bernburg one on one with his marker, who he held off before finishing by putting the ball under Bell.
FC Nordsjaelland: Hansen, Kibebe, Kildentoft, Lundberg, Simon Richter, Bernier, Jonathan Richter, Christensen (Neilsen 89), Petersen (Fetai 69), Karlsen (Dahl 46), Bernburg
Subs Not Used: Pode, Storm, Pedersen, Theis Rasmussen
Booked: Kibebe, Petersen, Christensen
Goals: Bernburg 85, 90
Queen of South: Bell, Reid, Harris, Thomson, Barr, MacFarlane (Robertson 80), Tosh, Adams (Dobbie 64), Burns, O'Connor, Kean (McQuilken 70)
Subs Not Used: Halliwell, Aitken, McGowan, McLaughlan
Goal: Harris 2
Ref: Tony Chapron (France)
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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