West Wales Intermediate Cup quarter final: Hakin United 3-1 Goodwick United

It was 90 minutes that kept Hakin’s season alive.

Trailing 1-0 to West Wales Cup holders Goodwick at the break after a Shane Walsh own goal, Kristan Bennett’s side produced a stirring second half fightback in the heavy winds and rain at The Obs.

Firstly Ryan Wilson’s corner evaded everyone to level matters, before Nicky Woodrow pounced on an error from Goodwick keeper James Gwilt to finish clinically from out near the touchline.

It was Woodrow who duly sealed matters with a header from a Camron Thomas corner, as The Vikings joined Merlins Bridge and Carew as one of three Pembrokeshire teams in the semi-finals.

Hakin blown about early on:

Inevitably, the early stages were affected by the adverse conditions but it was the Phoenix Boys who started in the ascendancy.

Jonny Horgan saw his close range effort blocked by Ben Aldred but when the ball rebounded back to the winger, he curled an effort inches past James Manson’s far post.

Horgan was denied again when Ewan Findlay’s last ditch challenge stopped him going clean through, while Luke Raymond and Jordan Griffiths both fired wastefully over from inside the area.

But with the pressure building, Goodwick did take the lead shortly before the half hour mark.

Chris O’Sullivan whipped in three consecutive in-swinging corners, and from the last of these Walsh could only help the ball into the net as he tried to head clear.

Hakin nearly hit straight back as Wilson’s free kick flashed across goal but then it was O’Sullivan who was then involved in another pivotal moment.

The midfielder struck a vicious 30 yard free kick that seemed destined for the top corner – only for Manson to pull off a magnificent one handed save.

And before the break the keeper came up trumps again, rushing out of his goal to deny Lee Hudgell and keep matters at 1-0.

Woodrow and Wilson turn the tide:

Goodwick might have kicked off the second half in control of the contest, but seven intense minutes later they found themselves on the brink.

The visitors did threaten first as Manson was forced into a double save from Kieran O’Brien and then O’Sullivan, but on the 50 minute mark Hakin struck back.

Just as O’Sullivan’s had done in the first half, Wilson’s corner in front of the clubhouse swung viciously towards goal in the wind - and evaded everyone to nestle in the far corner.

Goodwick protested that Gwilt had been impeded, with Wayne O’Sullivan and Raymond both booked by referee Dai Keane, and 90 seconds later they were reeling again.

Gwilt came out of his area to clear a loose ball upfield but only mishit to Woodrow on the left touchline, and the striker instantly turned and whipped a low shot into an empty net to complete the turn around. It was instinctive finish of high quality and suddenly, Hakin had the bit between their teeth.

They should have scored again when Woodrow volleyed across goal into the path of Camron Thomas – but he couldn’t control his first time shot.

Goodwick responded by sending on Rhys Dalling and then did try to press forward but with Ben Aldred again rock solid at the heart of the defence, and Manson faultless, the home side dealt with a host of balls into their area before on 71 minutes, the contest was nigh on settled.

 A Thomas corner from in front of the slab was met by Woodrow at the back post, and he headed in to spark wild celebration as The Vikings sensed a long awaited spot back in the final four of the competition.

Dalling did have a chance to set up a nervy finish as he broke free in the box but again Manson went down low to save before almost inevitably, tempers frayed late on.

Hakin sub Jimmy Walker and Dalling both saw yellow after clashing off the ball as Keane eventually dished out nine bookings – and in truth the Swansea based official did well to keep everyone on the field in what was ultimately a competent and sensible refereeing display.

And it was his final whistle that sparked both joy and obvious relief from the home players as Hakin notched a huge cup win in the latest instalment of what has become an intense rivalry.

Man of the match - James Manson:

Nicky Woodrow was superb in the second half and the energy he brought to his side, as well as the two goals would normally have seen him dubbed man of the match.

But today, Manson takes it. His save from the O’Sullivan free kick was as important as it was spectacular and either side of the break he made crucial stops to keep the score at 1-0.

The Hakin back four dug deep today and coped well with the pressure when 2-1 up. But when they were breached, Manson stood up to be counted.

Kristan Bennett (Hakin player manager):

“It was a brilliant win for us.

“The first half was tricky for both teams in the wind and they had a lot of chances but I said to the boys at half time it’s still only 1-0 – and they showed great spirit to fight back.

“We can still mathematically win the league but realistically it’s unlikely and we know that. So today felt like a chance to keep our season alive and it’s a priceless win.

“We are in the semi finals now and anything can happen.”

Wayne O’Sullivan (Goodwick player manager):

“It was a game of two halves to be honest and they played the conditions better than us.

“We didn’t take our chances first half and errors and poor defending from set pieces eventually cost us the game.”

Never count Hakin out:

It was an unusual situation for Hakin today. They went in to a big home game against a fellow Pembrokeshire side as clear underdogs.

Many, myself included, got that one wrong.

When it mattered they produced and in the second half they looked like a season playing as if their season depended on it. Kristan Bennett won two West Wales cups as a player and do add to that as a manager would be some feat.

As for Goodwick, their afternoon would have got worse when they came off the field to learn Monkton had beaten Pennar, extending their lead at the top of Division One to seven points. The pressure is now on to haul that back and a win at Monkton Lane on March 16th is now an absolute must.

The Phoenix Boys can point to missed chances and basic errors today. But in truth, it was Hakin who upped the ante when things were on a knife edge and deserved the win.

Hakin United: James Manson, Ewan Findlay, Mark Jones, Ben Aldred (Jimmy Walker 81), Leigh Marchant, Jay Power, Craig Nicholson, Shane Walsh (Ali Ouzman 72), Camron Thomas, Ryan Wilson, Nicky Woodrow (Bradley Barrett 88). Subs not used: Kristan Bennett.

Goodwick United: James Gwilt, Steff Hayes, Wayne O’Sullivan, Scott Delaney, Llyr Tobin, Luke Raymond, Chris O’Sullivan, Kieran O’Brien, Lee Hudgell, Jonny Horgan (Rhys Dalling 61), Jordan Griffiths. Subs: Steve Dockerty, Rowan Nicholson, Steve Blackford, Sion O’Sullivan.

Referee: Dai Keane.