Europa Conference League: Penybont, Haverfordwest and Connah’s Quay eye progress

Connah's Quay's Noah Edwards has a chance
Connah’s Quay’s Noah Edwards has a chance at goal

Three Cymru Premier sides return to European action on Thursday as they aim to progress to the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League.

Connah’s Quay Nomads must overturn their 2-0 first leg defeat away to Icelandic outfit KA Akureyri.

Haverfordwest County also have work to do as they lost 1-0 on the road to North Macedonian side Shkendija.

Penybont travel to Andorra looking to build on their 1-1 draw against FC Santa Coloma.

FC Santa Coloma v Penybont, Estadi Comunal, 16:00 BST

Penybont gave a spirited performance on their European debut to leave the tie finely poised ahead of their their trip to the Pyrenees.

Bont keeper Alex Harris would have been disappointed not to save Mario Mourelo’s free-kick which put the visitors ahead, but Chris Venables’ second-half equaliser ensured the tie is still very much alive after an even contest at Brewery Field.

Penybont manager Rhys Griffiths said: “They [FC Santa Coloma] are a good side, there is no question about that, but we are a good side too and we could win this tie.

“It will be different out there, I don’t think they will have half of the support that we have got and it certainly will not be as raucous. We will have to create our own atmosphere.

“I have not nothing but pride in these players and I know they will give everything.”

The winner will face either Montenegro’s FK Sutjeska or SS Cosmos from San Marino.

Connah’s Quay v KA Akureyri, Park Hall, Oswestry, 19:00 BST

Nomads have work to do after being left to rue missed chances in Reykjavik, with Noah Edwards and Harry Franklin both coming close.

Icelandic side KA Akureyri, who were making their return to Europe after 20 years, broke the deadlock with Hallgrimur Mar Steingrimsson finding the top corner of the net.

A new-look Nomads side were then dealt a further blow when Daniel Hafsteinsson doubled the advantage in the closing stages.

The fixture will be played at the home of Cymru Premier rivals The New Saints as the Deesiders prepare to move to The Essity Stadium in Flint. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Nomads manager Neil Gibson said: “They were the favourites going to the game last week; 2-0 into this game they’re favourites even more so now.

“But we’ve got a lot of inner belief that within the group and there’s absolutely nothing for us to lose, so we won’t in any way shape or form be going gung-ho.

“But we very much feel that if we come with a game plan and that we’ll still create opportunities.

“If we’re more clinical in those chances and key moments in the game then we feel we’ve got a good chance of going through.”

The winner will face either Dundalk FC from the Republic of Ireland or FCB Magpies of Gibraltar.

Haverfordwest County v Shkendija, Cardiff City Stadium, 19:45 BST

Haverfordwest’s first appearance in Europe since 2004 ended in a narrow defeat in Skopje, but there is still plenty to play for as both sides head to the Welsh capital.

Adenis Shala’s close-range effort proved decisive in the first leg, with County goalkeeper Zac Jones and some resolute defending keeping the tie very much alive.

Cardiff City Stadium has been chosen as Haverfordwest’s home ground due to their current ground not currently meeting UEFA’s standards.

Haverfordwest manager Tony Pennock said: “The lads acquitted themselves very well last week in tough conditions, and what we hoped was to give ourselves a chance coming back home, we have certainly done that.

“Obviously they had a few more chances than we did, but as the game went on the boys grew into it and gave themselves belief that they can score against Shkendija.

“To play at Cardiff City Stadium is something special. It is an occasion the boys will never forget and if we perform well it is something they will remember even longer.

“We would love to play at home but unfortunately in Wales that is not something that is happening apart from TNS.”

The winner will face either B36 Torshavn from the Faroe Islands or Estonia’s Paide Linnameeskond.

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