Title is in The Vikings' grasp
5:00pm Thursday 28th February 2013 in Sport
Hakin United 2
Merlins Bridge 1
JustinHarding scored twice to earn runaway league leaders Hakin United a slender victory over champions Merlins Bridge at the Obs.
Surely the Vikings after this excellent result have got one hand on the division one trophy?
The only other team that could possibly deny them glory is in-form Johnston who convincingly won 4-1 at Saundersfoot Sports.
This game was rightly billed as the ‘match of the day’ and within four minutes of the kickoff both teams were reduced to ten men. Hakin defender Leigh Broome and Bridge skipper Nathan Thomas were issued straight red cards after an off the ball incident.
As the game settled the deadlock was finally broken in the 44th minute when deadly striker Harding struck a low drive from 20 yards that beat keeper Gary Thomas.
After the break and the Vikings increased the lead as Harding headed home from 15 yards and that goal settled the nerves.
Frustration got the better of the Vikings when they were reduced to nine-men when centre back Paul Thomas hacked down Harding from behind.
Referee Wilson didn’t hesitate to show his third red card of the afternoon.
However, the champions rallied and pulled a goal back in the 85th minute. Substitute Nathan Banner’s square ball in the box was not dealt with and Dai Davies struck from 12- yards to give the champions a glimmer of hope.
The Vikings stood firm for the rest of the match and after this brilliant win are 11 points clear at the top of table, and firm favourites to win the title.
“I’m delighted with the result,” said Hakin boss Gary Dawes. “It was a hard game and they had us under pressure at the end.”
“To go down to nine players at Hakin made our job twice as hard,” said Bridge manager Bernie Armstrong. “Ok we lost to a better team on the day, but at the end we created decent chances to snatch a point.”
Hakin United: Stephen Hartley, Ewan Findlay, Leigh Broome, Steve Allen, Paul Jenkins, Andrew Kingston, Michael Cooper, Ashley Bevan, Steve Mathias, James Stanmore, Justin Harding.
Subs: Scott Davies, Paul Jones, Nathan Banner.
Merlins Bridge: Gary Thomas, Gethin Roberts, Simon Gilderdale, Paul Thomas, Peter Thomas, Brett Shakir, Simon Thomas, Nathan Thomas, Lee Hudgell, Dai Davies, Stephen McNabney.
Subs: Matthew D’Ivry, Ben Skudder, Jonathan Sable.
Referee: Adrian Wilson.