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Sunday 20th May 2012 ko 15.00

Allsvenskan

ÅTVIDABERGS FF 3 (Prodell 33 Eriksson 38p Zhubi 54)

KALMAR FF 0

Att 4,932

Entry 210 sek

Programme 20sek

Badge 30sek

Pennant 70sek

After an overnight stay in Jönköping we drove around 120 miles north-west to Linköping, passing Lake Vättern, which is as beautiful as it is huge (738 sq mi). From there it was a short distance south to Åtvidaberg, a town founded on medieval copper mining and latterly the production of mechanical calculators! A child’s climbing frame based on one is to be found just off the town square.

These two industries have had a major impact on the local football club. The ground’s name Kopparvallen reflects the mining heritage, and in the 1960’s Facit, a massive producer of calculators, were a major sponsor. When Facit went bankrupt in the second half of the 1970s after deciding that digital calculators simply wouldn’t catch on, it led to a major decline in the team’s fortunes. The club after a brief flirtation with top flight football again a few years ago only regained Allsvenskan status for this season.

And what a ground Kopparvallen is! There’s the wonderful old main stand, which judging by the posts is better to view than watch a game from. Wonderful yes, but for me the real star is the new stand opposite. Largely wooden, it has a pleasing curved roof, and the sight lines are superb. Behind each goal are wooden terraces, the one without a roof added for this season, the other getting a roof for this campaign.

The game saw two sides who I suspect are destined for mid-table security, face-off in front of the TV cameras. For me though, it answered a 6-year-old question. On my second trip to Sweden I’d watched AIK’s youth team, and the best player on the park was a young forward, Magnus Eriksson. His future looked bright, and he represented Sweden at U19 level. However after a couple of injury-wrecked years, and a stint at AIK farm-side Väsby United he was released. He was picked up by Åtvidaberg, and last season scored 16 goals in 35 appearances. He looked a class act on this occasion too!

However it was Kalmar that made the brighter start, with Jonathan McDonald missing a free header, before in the 7th minute he contrived to shoot wide left after being put clean through. In the 11th minute Archford Gutu’s fine reverse pass to McDonald saw the Costa Rican forward’s shot acrobatically saved by Gustav Jansson in the home goal.

Gradually the hosts got a grip on the game, and took the lead on 33 minutes when Kristian Bergström’s through ball to saw the Kalmar defence to a man claim offside. He certainly looked offside but tapped home and the goal stood.

It was soon 2-0, as Kalmar captain Tobias Eriksson brought down Anton Tinnerholm for an obvious penalty which Eriksson slotted coolly home into the bottom left hand corner.

It was clear that the start of the second half would see a real effort from the visitors, and McDonald did well to twist into a scoring position 8 yards out but Jansson was able to tip his shot over.

The hosts responded by scoring their third, Eriksson’s brilliant reverse pass finding Bergström who squared for Petrit Zhubi to tap home. There was little else for Åtvidaberg to do but maintain the pressure, and that they did well, Eriksson seeing his rising shot tipped over, and another effort tipped round the post.

So a welcome win for a club on the way back, and a stunning location to watch it in.

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