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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 June, 2004, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Odense 0-0 Ballymena Utd
Ballymena goalkeeper Robert Robinson
Ballymena goalkeeper Robert Robinson made a series of great saves
Ballymena United produced a superb display to draw 0-0 with Odense BK in the Intertoto Cup first round, first leg tie in Denmark.

United dominated the first 20 minutes and Oran Kearney went close with a stinging shot from an acute angle.

Odense had the better of the exchanges thereafter but were unable to breach a stubborn Ballymena defence.

Robert Robinson made a series of outstanding saves and Justin McBride cleared an effort of the line.

Kearney's chance came after eight minutes when Shea Campbell released the midfielder who then fired a stinging drive from an acute angle which goalkeeper Arek Onyszko was forced to turn behind.

As Ballymena continued their bright start, Justin McBride's cross from the right had to be headed clear by the alert Steen Nedergaard.

Odense did not create a clear-cut opportunity until the 22nd minute when slick interplay between Fernando Derveld and Mwape Miti ended with Ballymena goalkeeper Robert Robinson collecting the ball at the Zambian international's feet.

In the second half, the Danes took control of the game, only to be denied on several occasions by Robinson.

Soren Berg was the first to be denied by Robinson's agility on 53 minutes when the keeper saved with his legs and recovered to grab Steffen Hojer's follow-up attempt.

We did the Irish League proud
Ballymena boss Kenny Shiels

Hojer was again denied moments later when his close-range effort from a Nedergaard corner was cleared off the goal-line by McBride.

And Hojer, who had come on as a substitute at the interval, went closer still on 57 minutes when his flashing header from Nedergaard's right-wing cross came back off the face of the cross bar with Robinson for once helpless.

But the goalkeeper saved his finest moment for the 62nd minute when he produced a world-class save to somehow keep out substitute Kenneth Moller Pederson's 30-yard free-kick.

Ballymena boss Kenny Shiels described his players' performances as "incredible".

"The enormity of the achievement is still sinking in. I have nothing but praise for the players," said Shiels.

"We never thought we would get anything from the game as they are a quality side but we did the Irish League proud."

Ballymena will now be hoping to complete a famous victory when they host the Danish side in the second leg next Saturday.

"Realistically, it is going to be difficult for us to go through but we musn't fall into the trap of opening up at home. We must be cautious," said Shiels.


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