CONNAH’S QUAY NOMADS have a mountain to climb if they are to keep their Europa League dream alive.

Visiting Shakhtyor Soligorsk came and conquered Andy Morrison’s men on another disappointing night for the Welsh Premier League.

Goals from Max Ebong, Elis Bakaj and Mikhail Shibun handed the Belarusian side the advantage as Nomads were surprisingly caught short at the back, which even Callum Morris' late penalty couldn't make up for.

The warning signs were there early on in the contest as the lively Bakaj fired harmlessly wide of John Danby’s goal.

It was a different story soon after, however, a Nomads throw countered impressively by Soligorsk, who saw Yuri Kovalev find Bakaj, the striker forcing Danby into a smart save down to his left.

Nomads were certainly putting pressure on the Soligorsk goal with Danny Holmes’ long throw an obvious weapon, while striker Andy Owens was winning his fair share of free-kicks with some impressive hold up play.

After Owens was fouled wide on the left, Holmes’ inswinging free-kick was headed over by Owens from five yards, the striker’s blushes spared by the offside flag.

If that was a let off for Soligorsk then the visitors didn’t afford Nomads such a luxury as they broke the deadlock. Attacking midfielder Ebong was allowed to advance forward into the penalty area and fired a drive past the helpless Danby.

Nomads gathered themselves, but things were about the get worse before they had a chance to get better as Bakaj got the goal his performance perhaps deserved.

A free-kick in almost the ideal position for an attack saw Bakaj strike the defensive wall, which was left bemused as the striker drove the rebound low into the net with aplomb.

Former Wrexham striker Michael Bakare was given the chance to copy Bakaj, albeit from a tougher free-kick on the right, but his low bobbling effort was comfortably gathered by Andrei Klimovich.

As the Nomads attackers fed on scraps, Ryan Wignall unable to get on the end of a long throw from Holmes that found its way to the back post, Bakaj was enjoying himself, the striker firing over the angle of post and bar in another quick Soligorsk break.

It was no surprise as Nomads flew out of the traps at the start of the second-half, forcing a number of free-kicks and winning throw-ins in dangerous positions.

Laurence Wilson nearly capitalised on a free-kick as the left-back forced Klimovich into a smart save with a curling effort from 22 yards.

Tempers began to flare as Jay Owen and Bakaj found themselves into the referee's notebook, the former also putting the ball in the net, but the whistle had gone for a foul on Klimovich.

It was nearly 3-0 as a disputed corner was powerfully headed goalwards by Igor Kuzmenok, but his effort was cleared off the line by Wilson.

That was only a momentary let off as Kovalev bought a foul and Shibun converted the resulting free-kick low to Danby's left from 25 yards.

Nomads were given something to celebrate with time running out as George Horan was manhandled in the area and referee Juri Frisher pointed to the spot.

Callum Morris stepped up and sent Klimovich the wrong way to give Nomads something to hold on to heading into next week's return leg.

Connah’s Quay Nomads (4-5-1): Danby; Holmes, Disney, Horan (C), Wilson; Parker (Poole 65); Wignall (Woolfe 85), Owen (Edwards 79), Morris, Bakare; Owens.

Subs Not Used: Rushton, Spittle,


Shakhtyor Soligorsk (4-2-3-1): Klimovich (C); Burko, Kuzmenok, Rybak, Shibun; Selyava, Szoke; Kovalev (Soiri 79), Canas (Simunovic 82), Ebong; Bakaj (Laptev 72).

Subs Not Used: Chesnovski,Sibomana, Bordachev.

Referee: Juri Frischer (Estonia).