THERE were nightmares, not fairytales, in Hans Christian Andersen's home town for St Patrick's Athletic last night as the Saints crashed out of the UEFA Cup, outclassed by Odense and done in by some dismal defending.
This was a reminder of the dark old days in Irish soccer as the eircom League's flag flyers. As the game was not live on TV, Saints supporters at home were spared the pain of it all, but the concession of so many soft goals will live in the memory for the players and loyal band of fans who witnessed this collapse.
"We should have defended better from set-pieces. We had worked hard on that aspect of the game so it was disappointing to concede those goals," said manager John McDonnell.
"We started well but losing Michael Keane disrupted us. We need to learn from this - as players and as a club."
Having failed to score in the home leg, Saints plan was to keep Odense scoreless for the early part of the game, but that was blown out of the water as the Saints suffered two hammer-blows in the first 20 minutes.
McDonnell had to reshape his team when central midfielder Michael Keane was forced off with a hamstring injury after only 15 minutes - he was replaced by defender Stephen Paisley.
Four minutes later, St Pat's found themselves a goal down, Hans Henrik Andreasen firing the ball past Barry Ryan after being set up by Celtic target Jonas Borring.
Odense were 2-0 up and effectively in the draw for the second round after only 29 minutes. The Saints failed to deal with a corner by Chris Sorensen and left Kim Christensen with a free header, with recriminations over the non-existent marking causing an row between team-mates Barry Ryan and Dave Rogers.
Goal No 3 for Odense was a carbon copy of that the second, this time Borring scoring with a free header from a corner just before half-time.
More dreadful defending gifted Odense their fourth goal on 73 minutes. Sorensen whipped in a free-kick and, as Paisley and Rogers got their wires crossed over who was going to clear the ball, Kim Christensen stabbed it past Ryan.
Odense's fifth goal was probably the most painful for the visitors. The Danes broke away after a poorly-taken St Pat's corner-kick and substitute Peter Nymann had the freedom of the city, with not a marker in sight, to fire his shot past Ryan.
A truly dismal experience was St Pat's was summed up by the fact that, over two legs, Odense's Polish keeper Arek Onyszko was not called on to make a single save.