Senior Cup Quarter Final: Merlins Bridge 3-2 Hakin United 

Nathan Greene's superb late header bagged victory for Merlins Bridge over Senior Cup holders Hakin United in an exciting five-goal thriller served at The Racecourse, writes Gordon Thomas.

With the score level at 2-2 it was Greene who met a pinpoint Joe Leahy cross, and the striker powered his effort past James Manson to send the 2016/17 winners into the last four of the competition.

The Wizards struck first blood with barely five minutes on the clock.

Poor marking by the Vikings at a set piece allowed Richard Hughes a free header, as the centre back ghosted into the box and latching onto Gethin Roberts’ floated ball in to score.

Minutes later and the Vikings were unlucky not to level matters, as Nicky Woodrow’s rising shot from distance just flew over the crossbar.

But Kristan Bennett’s Vikings didn’t wait long before they did equalise. Poor defending by the Bridge allowed Woodrow to use his quick feet and the striker finished with aplomb.

The visitors began to dominate and Ryan Wilson, Alex Ouzman and Woodrow all missed decent chances as home keeper Gary Thomas’ kept things at 1-1.

But Matthew D’Ivry’s Wizards’ outfit dug deep and regained the lead before half time as Greene made no mistake with a one-on-one with Manson.

That’s how it stayed until half time with everything still to play for in the second period.

And just after the hour mark the Vikings squared matters as substitute Mark Jones headed home from inside the box, and although the Wizards’ camp felt Jones was offside, referee Sean O’Connor was having none of it as he signalled for the goal.

It then came down to which side could keep their nerve and it was the Wizards who got the vital winner as Greene rose like a salmon out of high water and planted his header past Manson - as the Wizards booked a place in the semi-finals.

Merlins Bridge: Gary Thomas, Andrew John, Richard Hughes, Chris Ormond, Jordan Thomas, David Davies, Gethin Roberts, William Haworth, Ben Davies, Nathan Greene, Joe Leahy. Subs: Stephen McNabney, Simon Thomas, Leon Pemberthy.

Hakin United: James Manson, Jake Merry, Leigh Marchant, Ben Aldred, Daniel Armstrong, Alex Ouzman, Craig Nicholson, Ryan Wilson, Shane Walsh, Nicky  Woodrow, Justin Harding. Subs: Jimmy Walker, Mark Jones, Tom Evans.

Referee: Sean O’Connor.