JUSTIN Harding's late strike earned second-placed Hakin United a slender, hard-fought victory over ten-man Haverfordwest County at the Bridge Meadow.

This was a cracking game of football played in terrific spirit.

It's fair to say that Gary Dawes' Vikings knew that they had to win if they are to stay in contact with top-of-the-table Merlins Bridge after losing to them last weekend.

Welsh Premier striker Jack Christopher, returning from suspension, was menacing all afternoon and caused the Vikings' defence all sorts of problems.

Christopher squandered two early good scoring chances and the Vikings thought they had taken the lead when Harding rattled the crossbar.

The hosts took the lead in the 33rd minute.

Midfielder Matthew Ellis' defence-splitting through ball sent Christopher on his way, the striker coolly rounded keeper Hartley and lashed the ball into the empty net.

However, the visitors replied ten minutes later. Steve Mathias' wicked free kick into the Bluebirds' box allowed Terry Bevan to sneak in unmarked and gleefully nod the ball past stranded keeper Jordan Aspinall.

But the Bluebirds then had goalkeeper Aspinall straight red-carded by referee Steve Williams for deliberately taking out Paul Jones outside the box.

So as it looked as if the Bluebirds would go into the break one goal ahead, it transpired the score was 1-1, and worse still they were down to ten-men.

The second-half was an even affair and the Bluebirds are to be applauded for shutting the Vikings out for a long period.

But with barely five minutes left the Bluebirds defence failed to deal with a cross and teenage striker Harding lashed the ball into the roof of the net to win the match for the delighted and mighty relieved Vikings.

Haverfordwest County: Jordan Aspinall, Gethin Roberts, Lee Palmer, Bobby Briers, Kelvin Fudge, Lloyd Wilson, Matthew Ellis, Adam Raymond, Jack Christopher, Mike Turpin, Craig George. Subs: Dave Rees, Luke Robinson, Henry Durrant.

Hakin United: Steve Hartley, Neil Mathias, Andrew Kingston, Terry Bevan, Kristan Bennett, Paul Turner, James Stanmore, Justin Harding, Steve Mathias, Paul Jones, Ashley Bevan. Subs: Anthony Mayhew, Ewan Findley, Michael Cooper.

Referee: Steve Williams.