Football Season Review

№14: Mjøndalen

Mjøndalen started the season as the perennial relegation candidates, boasting a rather small and modest squad. But they actually made a decent start and remained unbeaten in the opening three games. They also pulled off a huge win at direct rivals Aalesund but went into a pretty negative spiral as the season went on, losing seven games in a row after that to move firmly into the relegation tussle. Vegard Hansen was never going to budge from his favoured system and approach to the game, relying on set-pieces and hard work to get points off more talented sides. And from time to time, the plan worked as a couple of wins in a row over Haugesund and Brann gave the team a bit of a breathing space in the tussle to stay up but they still lost a massive 13 games out of 15 run in a period between July and October. Yet, Hagen never lost belief in the team and a few good additions in the final third of the season, namely Ole Amund Sveen and Isac Twum, gave the team a new dimension and a boost as they earned key wins over Brann and Strømsgodset at home. The side remained deep in relegation trouble towards the closing stages of the season but they were competitive in almost every game, unlike earlier in the season, and were denied by last-minute goals against Haugesund and Rosenborg. Still, they went into the last round still with a chance of avoiding automatic relegation and a 3:0 win over Aalesund saw them finish just above Start on goal difference. That set up a one-legged play-off clash against Sogndal with survival at stake and it could have hardly gone any more dramatically, with Mjøndalen losing 2:1 going into 90 minutes but then pulling off two very late goals to win the game and seal another season in the top-flight. Therefore, it counts as a successful season for the league's smallest club that once again defied their status and showed determination to punch above their weight.

Player of the Season: Sosha Makani