Manglerud Star Toppf 1 Fredrikstad FK Reserves 0

Monday 25th August 2008
Manglerud Star Toppf 1 Fredrikstad FK Reserves 0
Norwegian 2.div Menn avd 01
At: Lambertseter Match, Oslo
Kick-off: 6-00 pm
Admission: 50kr including 4 page programme
Attendance: 70 (headcount)
Weather: sunny spells
Duration: first-half: 45:04; second-half: 47:59

Even though Vålerenga were at home to Strømsgodset in the Tippeligaen, I decided to stick with my pre-trip plan of watching the third-tier game between Manglerud Star Toppf and second string of Tippeligaen side Fredrikstad FK. And the home side turned in a 'star' performance to record a single-goal victory.

In Norway, there are four third-tier divisions - 2.div avd 1, 2.div avd 2, 2.div avd 3 and 2.div avd 4 - which if combined into one would be equivalent in the Norwegian league structure to England's League One). They have equal status and feed into the Adeccoligaen (equivalent to England's Championship) which sits below the Tippeligaen (equivalent to England's Premiership).

Back in 2005, Manglerud enjoyed a memorable season when they won 2.div Menn avd 2 by a two-point margin to gain promotion from this third tier of Norwegian football to the Adeccoligaen. In 2006, they played home games at the famous Bislett Stadium near the centre of Oslo but finished third from bottom and were relegated back to the third tier after just one season in the Adeccoligaen.

Manglerud is a district of Olso, to the south east of the centre of the capital city, and they play their home games at the nearby Lambertseter Stadion, four stops further away from the city than Manglerud station down the number 4 T-bane line.

The Lambertseter Stadion is less than ten minutes walk from the T-bane station. After leaving the train, double back and exit the station to the road. At the top, turn right and cross the bridge to the traffic lights. Turn right into Langbølgen and continue past the shopping centre. Just after the pelican crossing, turn left into Glimmersvingen, go uphill and the ground is on the left. The tall floodlights are visible. For the return journey, cut the corner to the Oslo-bound platform by going through the shopping centre.

The ground is an athletics stadium with six-lane running track and eight tall floodlight pylons. The entrance is in the corner nearest the 100m start where admission money (50 krona) is taken and the free four-page programme is given away. To the right of the entrance, stretching down the length of the home straight to the PA box next to the athletics finishing line, is an open terrace of nine wooden steps complete with crush barriers. This is the only spectator vantage point inside the ground and there is a good tea bar next to the entrance as well. The clubhouse is located outside the perimeter near the 200m start and this is where I obtained the teams from a helpful club official (they were also read out over the tannoy).

Manglerud went into the game in sixth position in the fourteen-team division, with 22 points from 16 games. Fredrikstad occupied second-from-bottom. Just before Fredrikstad got the action under way attacking what I'll call the 200m bend end of the ground, the sound of chanting grew louder and louder. And in came four visiting fans, three of whom spent nearly all game chanting, singing and using their megaphone, as well as occasionally waiving their flags. These fans certainly had great fun and, amongst many other songs, sang lyrics relating to their team to the tunes of 'God Save the Queen' and Mike Oldfield's 'Moonlight Shadow'.

It was goalless at half-time so I decided to check out the tea bar – coffee and a waffle for 20 krona comes highly recommended!

Goalless draws don't necessarily bother me but I imagined one well-known football traveller getting more and more edgy as full-time approached without the net bulging. As if the singing fans were enough, a brass band started practicing in a nearby building. Then in the 85th minute, substitute Simen Halsan-Øien swung in a corner from the right and Jonas Rygg glanced a near-post header into the opposite side of the net. Delight for Manglerud!

The win lifted Manglerud over Valdres FK into fifth position, ten points behind leaders Mjøndalen.

Manglerud Star Toppf (green/green/green): 1. Kim Hording, 17. Marius Lie Bratland, 4. Henning Jørgensen, 5. Lorenzo Caroprese, 2. Andreas Thorud, 11. Morten Granum, 7. Jonas Rygg, 3. Lars Sandbu, 20. Stian Kristoffersen, 9. Christian Torp, 23. Trond Haugstad. Subs: 24. Lars Maalen Johansen, 14. Simen Halsan-Øien (for Kristoffersen, 84), 12. Felix Ademola (for Bratland, 61), 16. Edson Da Silva, 8. Eivind Kampen.

Fredrikstad FK 2 (white/red/white): 1. Tommy Runar, 5. Jørgen Hansen, 2. Gardan Mehmeti, 4. Jonas Becken, 28. Christian Halvorsen, 6. Bala Arezou, 10. Faton Hoti, 16. Martin Elvestad, 7. Oguz Sangirogla, 11. Odilon Kashama, 9. Mats Olavesen. Subs: 12 Lars Erik Johannesen, 17. Erlend Thorvaldsen, 19. Martus Flydahl (for Olavesen, 76).

Referee: Anders Gjermshus (Hamar IL).
Assistants: Jaffar Hussein Said (Rælingen) and Jon-Michael Knutsen (Løvenstad).

1-0 Jonas Rygg (85)

Manglerud Star Toppf: Lorenzo Caroprese (YC, 31), Morten Granum (YC, 60), Henning Jørgensen (YC, 68)
Fredrikstad: none