Kilmarnock crash out of Europe after losing to Connah's Quay Nomads.
Callum Morris slots his penalty away to seal qualification for the Nomads. Source:GettyImages.

Kilmarnock's eighteen year wait for European football came to a bitter end on Thursday after they were dumped out of the Europa League by Connah's Quay Nomads.

Boo's rung out as the full time whistle went at Rugby Park. The Welsh side defeated they Ayrshire men 2-0 on the night to earn a 3-2 aggregate victory and progress to the second round.

A disastrous start

This was new Killie boss Angelo Alessio's first home game in charge and a crowd of well over 8,000 gathered to witness it. However, it was a nightmare start for the Italian and his men.

From the off Killie looked sluggish. There was no real urgency and play was slow and pedestrian and the away side very nearly took the lead when Gary Dicker's slack pass was intercepted and the Nomads broke on the counter. The ball was squared for Callum Morris but somehow the Nomad's number 8 missed from about 10 yards out.

The hosts then kicked into gear and a series of tremendous saves from Nomads goalie Lewis Brass kept the score level at the break. 

After the restart, Killie were punished for not taking their chances. On the 50th minute Nomads striker Ryan Wignall headed past Jamie MacDonald to give the visitors a shock lead.

From this point on Killie looked rattled and seriously struggled to create anything. The play was slow and negative and the fans were beginning to get frustrated. 

On the 80th minute, disaster struck for the hosts. Controversial ex-Hibernian and East Fife striker Jamie Insall was played through and Stuart Findlay impeded him in the box and a penalty was given.

Findlay was shown red and Morris made up for his earlier sitter by slotting the penalty away to send the Nomads through. 

In the dying minutes of the game Kirk Broadfoot hit the bar with a header and goalscorer Wignall was sent off for a shocking challenge.

Severe pressure after 'worst result ever'

This result has landed new Killie boss Alessio in hot water with the Rugby Park faithful already. 

The performance was well below what was expected and fans made their displeasure known to the Italian at full time. 

It is early days but the signs so far have not been positive and the Italian had to hold his hands up and apologise. Speaking to BBC Scotland, Alessio said: "In the first half we had three opportunities to score, but in the second half the game was no good. 

"I'm sorry. I didn't think this game would go wrong after the right result last week. At the same time I thought this team had the quality, the strength and the right motivation to come back in this game."

Killie captain Gary Dicker also blasted his side and insisted the fans were right to voice their displeasure after Killie's 'worst ever result'.

Speaking about whether or not it was the worst result in the club's history, Dicker said: "Yes, it has to be if you ask me.

"The fans have waited that long to get here and we dish up that. I'm gutted for them more than anyone, they've been through enough over the years, we worked that hard and then to dish that up, it's embarrassing, a disgrace, whatever you want to call it."

Giant killers

However, Nomad's boss Andy Morrison was absolutely delighted at his side upsetting all the odds and he insists that his men deserve all the credit. Morrison told the BBC: "What we've achieved is something quite remarkable

"You could see for large periods what a good team they are, but we were too savvy and too clever and worked them out. We always believed we'd get a chance and we took them."

The Welsh side's boss also insisted that people have to give his side more respect and stop underestimating them. He said: "I heard some stuff before the game - I think it was the Queens' Park manager who said 'it'll be six but I wouldn't be surprised if they get 10'

"There's a little message for them there... you don't write off teams of men. My skipper is 37 years old, Michael Wilde is 35, but they have the hearts the size of lions, and never back down."

The Nomads will now face Partizan Belgrade next Thursday in the Europa League Second Qualifying Round.

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