Hakin United 2-2 Johnston
HAKIN United dropped points in the title race as they played out an entertaining draw with Johnston at The Obs.
Twice the visitors led in the first half through Adam Hawkins – but goals from James Stanmore and Hakin substitute Michael Cooper ensured the teams went in level at the break.
The Vikings then dominated the second half but were unable to find an elusive winner – with Johnston stand in keeper Joel Codd in inspired form.
It was end to end in the early stages and The Tigers could have taken the lead within two minutes when Hawkins low drive was well saved by Hakin keeper James Manson.
And just moments later it was the home side who squandered an opening when Ashley Bevan squared for James Stanmore, but the striker scuffed his shot straight at Codd.
The frantic pace continued as Manson tipped a Nicky Woodrow volley around the post before at the other end, Stanmore again went close when he surged into the area and fired a left foot shot wide.
But on 17 minutes The Tigers took the lead. Woodrow failed to capitalise on a slip by Manson but from the resultant corner, Hawkins hammered home at the back post following a Kristian Griffiths flick on.
But the lead lasted barely a minute, as Matthew Broome played in Stanmore and this time the striker made no mistake as he dinked the ball over the onrushing Codd.
It was to prove one of Stanmore’s last actions in the game as the striker then limped off with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Michael Cooper.
Steve Dockerty then went close for the Tigers as his volley was headed off the line by Gareth Fawcett - before Johnston took the lead again when Woodrow’s low cross was turned in a sliding Hawkins.
But crucially, Hakin again struck back immediately as Matthew Broome’s long throw found its way to Cooper, who headed home from close range.
The Tigers then wasted a chance to take the lead a third time before the break, as Steve Mills played in Woodrow, but his effort was blocked by Manson.
As expected, tackles flew in during the opening 45 minutes – but at the start of the second Cooper was lucky to escape unpunished when he lunged into Johnston centre back Price, but referee Kevin Bowen waved play on.
Price, who was forced to leave the field, returned to the action after several minutes of treatment.
It was Hakin who started the second half in the ascendancy and both Bevan and Steve Allen went close with free kicks – the latter seeing his effort beaten away by Codd.
The keeper than had to be alert to save from Matthew Broome, and then did brilliantly to tip Fawcett’s close range effort around the post.
Bevan then placed a shot wastefully wide before Fawcett saw his deflected shot again palmed away by Codd.
But with nine minutes left, The Tigers had a chance to steal the points when Woodrow went clean through and blasted a left foot shot over – before Nathan Banner headed wide from close range for Hakin.
Broome’s low cross then just evaded Hakin sub Paul Jones at the far post, before Dockerty went close to stunning The Vikings when his 30 yard shot was tipped over by Manson.
There was still time for the home side to press but a series of late corners came to nothing – and both sides had to settle for a point.
Hakin United: James Manson, Ewan Findlay, Nathan Banner, Gareth Fawcett, Leigh Broome (Paul Jenkins 57), Steve Allen, Jonathan Bennett, Matthew Broome, Adrian Devonald (Paul Jones 57), James Stanmore (Michael Cooper 33), Ashley Bevan.
Johnston: Joel Codd, Andrew John, Kristian Griffiths, Sion Price, Steve Mills, James Skudder (Chris O’Toole), Steve Dockerty, Luke Hayward, Mark Jones, Nicky Woodrow, Adam Hawkins.
Referee: Kevin Bowen.