Manderwood Pembrokeshire League Division 1: Carew 3-3 Hakin United

It was an entertaining 90 minutes, but a result that suited neither side.

On three occasions champions Hakin United took the lead at Carew only to be pegged back each time, and yet it was probably The Rooks who finished the more aggrieved at dropping two points after they poured forward in a one sided second half.

The Vikings had led early on through Nicky Woodrow and then Justin Harding, only for Sam Christopher to twice equalise, before Camron Thomas put the visitors 3-2 up at half time.

And it stayed that way until the 79th minute when Scott Ferney curled in a shot from outside the box, prompting a fiery finish which saw Hakin striker Harding sent off after the final whistle.

Early goals galore:

Realistically, it was a game both sides needed to win to keep pace in the title race, and Carew picked a line up with intent as forwards Ferney, Christopher, and Jordan Richards all started.

And yet it was Hakin who were ahead within two minutes. Shane Walsh broke free on the right and his cross deflected over Tom Davies, with Woodrow reacting by darting beyond the Carew keeper to tap into an empty net.

It wasn’t without controversy with referee Dai Badger overruling the linesman’s flag to award the goal, but regardless the home side responded and from a Ferney corner Jack Christopher went close with a header, before his brother Sam squared matters.

Iwan Izzard’s through ball set Ferney free on the right, and he in turn squared for the striker to sweep home from close range.

But the relief lasted barely a minute as again the Carew back four again failed to deal with a high ball - as James Manson’s clearance was flicked on by Woodrow and evaded Davies, allowing Harding to nip in and make it 2-1.

By the 25 minute mark it was 2-2 though as Izzard’s chipped pass found Christopher in the area, and he controlled and turned sharply before hammering a left footed shot past Manson.

The frantic pace continued and with Izzard’s influence growing in midfield and Ferney finding space on the right, The Rooks stretched Hakin’s depleted defence. But the threat was just as great at the other end and Ewan Findlay was getting joy going forward – and indeed it was the right back who created the next goal five minutes before the break.

His pin point cross found Thomas at the back post, and the youngster did well to fid the top of the net with his left footed volley.

Hakin joy soon turned to frustration in first half injury time though when again a long ball over the top caused problems, and Woodrow touched the ball past the onrushing Davies before Harding slotted home – but this time Badger upheld the linesman’s flag and the goal was ruled out. Amidst the protests, Harding himself was yellow carded.

Hakin hanging on:

If the first half was end to end, the second was signified by relentless Carew pressure.

The Hakin defence had to stand up to a series of long throw-ins from Shaun Whitfield and corners from Ferney and it was Christopher who had the first big chance, volleying over from a tight angle.

At the other end Harding did shoot wide from 20 yards but Carew kept coming, Jordan Richards inches away from Ferney’s low cross before the former shot straight at Manson from 15 yards.

Christopher again went close to his hat trick when he lifted an angled shot over an onrushing Manson, only to see his effort drift agonisingly wide of the near post.

Whitfield then headed over and sub Spencer Williams struck the bar directly from a corner.

But on 79 minutes the resistance of Hakin, for whom a clearly injured Ben Aldred had been outstanding second half, was broken.

Sonny Phillips forced a corner and another Williams delivery was cleared as far as Ferney 20 yards out, and his curling effort took a slight deflection on route to the top corner.

The Hakin defence became yet more makeshift as Aldred finally limped off and then Carew went perilously close to leading as Alex Bayley’s cross was just too high for an unmarked Christopher.

But then in the dying moments The Vikings nearly completed a smash and grab when Woodrow went through but was forced wide by Davies, before teeing up Harding whose dipping shot shaved the bar.

The second half had seen Whitfield, Walsh and Woodrow all booked but tempers then seemed to fray after the final whistle, and it was Harding who was again yellow carded for dissent and subsequently sent off.

Man of the match – Scott Ferney:

It was a match played at a real pace, which suited Ferney fine.

In the first half he really stretched Hakin wide on the right, creating Christopher’s first goal, and found plenty of space when roaming about in the second. And of course, his goal to level matters was a quality one.

He just edges out Ewan Findlay. The latter tackled strongly and in the first half especially, caused problems surging forward. He’s spent a lot of the season in the second XI but after that display, I can’t see him returning there anytime soon.

A draw to disappoint both?:

On the balance of play in the second half, Rob Scourfield and Jeremy Griffiths will feel it’s two points dropped. Given his side led three times and were ahead with 11 minutes to go, Kristan Bennett will feel it’s two points dropped.

Hakin supporters will say the disallowed goal before the break was crucial but then Carew followers will say the same about the early goal that did stand. It’s local football, there’s no VAR, and decisions will even out.

I thought beforehand it was game both sides had to win and neither are now likely to catch Monkton from here, even with games in hand. But their seasons remain very much alive.

Hesitant defending in the first half ultimately cost Carew yesterday but when they did attack they did so at pace. Sam Christopher’s return to full fitness was always going to boost them and with a home quarter final in the West Wales Cup coming up, and a Senior Cup semi final against Pennar, a memorable campaign is still on.

Hakin’s season now hinges on their own West Wales Cup quarter final with Goodwick, and on that front Bennett will be sweating on the fitness of Aldred and the impending ban for Harding.

He would have been pleased with the commitment yesterday. A makeshift defence threw bodies on the line and they held out for much of the second half despite being bombarded with thrown ins and corners. At the other end, Woodrow and Harding will always guarantee goals.

These two have to meet again at The Obs in the league. There’s still a chance they could meet elsewhere as well……

Carew: Tom Davies, Sonny Phillips, Jack Christopher, Zac Rowell (Spencer Williams 56), Shaun Whitfield, Ian Darbyshire, Iwan Izzard, Alex Bayley, Scott Ferney, Jordan Richards, Sam Christopher. Subs not used: Tom Grover, Max Brindley.

Hakin United: James Manson, Ewan Findlay, Leigh Marchant, Ben Aldred (Ali Ouzman 80), Camron Thomas, Shane Walsh, Craig Nicholson, Ryan Wilson, Mark Jones, Justin Harding, Nicky Woodrow. Subs not used: Jimmy Walker, Ali Robertson.

Referee: Dai Badger.