Manderwood Pembrokeshire League Division 1: Hakin United 2-4 Monkton Swifts

The fate of Monkton's title challenge remains in their own hands after goal braces from Dylan Davies and James Russell saw them win 4-2 at Hakin this afternoon.

It also ended a run of two straight defeats for Joe Lewis' side after losing to Bridge in the Senior Cup semi final and then at Carew last week, and it was a thoroughly deserved three points despite falling behind early on.

Soft goals at both ends:

The visitors could have been ahead inside two minutes as Russell played in strike partner Davies, but he could only fire straight at James Manson from a tight angle.

But it was Hakin who struck first nine minutes in when Ryan Wilson's free kick into the area evaded everyone, including Monkton keeper Thomas Doyle, and nestled in the far corner.

Little over 60 seconds later though the Swifts were level via a free kick of their own as Chris Richards found former Viking Ben Steele unmarked in the box, and he headed back across goal for Davies to score.

The rest of the half was tightly fought and Wilson again went close for Hakin when his deflected strike came back at the post, while for Monkton Russell held off Ben Aldred to cut into the six yard box but his effort was smothered by Manson.

But four minutes before half time the striker did find the net, left with the simplest of open goals after Steele and Blake James had combined to tee him up.

Swifts step it up as Hakin tire:

Steele also tested Manson with a free kick before half time and they missed a golden chance after the break, Davies squaring to James six yards out but he didn't properly connect and Hakin left back Tom Evans made the block.

Hakin had kicked off on the back of four games in 11 days and it began to show, and on 51 minutes a defensive mix up allowed Davies to latch onto a long ball forward and deftly lob Manson to make it 3-1.

Kristan Bennett tried to freshen the home side with a triple substitution as Jimmy Walker, Adrian Devonald, and Mark Jones all came on, but it was Monkton who continued to create the openings.

Steele thought he'd added a fourth when his powerful angled shot crashed against the underside of the bar, before being denied again as Manson pushed over his first time volley from sub Ryan Griffiths' corner.

Manson also thwarted Russell when clean through but with four minutes left he had his second goal. Steele was tripped in the box by Aldred and Russell found the net, not once but twice, after referee Sean O'Connor ordered a re-take.

Hakin did pull one back immediately via Justin Harding's cool dink over Doyle, but it was Monkton's day at The Obs.

Man of the match - Dylan Davies:

Given their recent workload Monkton needed to stretch Hakin today - and Davies did so more than post. His speed and movement caused constant problems and second goal was superbly taken. Ben Steele also had an influential 90 minutes against the side with who he twice lifted the title, and it was a reminder of what Monkton can do when they have space going forward.

A wait in the wings:

Monkton now face an 18-day wait before they host Merlins Bridge on April 18th. In that time they'll be hoping for slip ups from both them and Goodwick.

Worse case scenario they must beat both them and Goodwick on the final day (April 24th) to be sure of the title. If it comes to that it will be a tough task, but they remain in control of their own destiny. After two defeats, and going behind early on today, coming back to win was vital pyschologically.

"It was important we got the win and we responded well to going behind," said Joe Lewis afterwards.

"We performed well in Carew last week and performed well again today. That's what we have to concentrate on.

"We have an 18 day wait now and may look at a friendly at some point to keep sharp."

Hakin United: James Manson, Tom Evans (Jimmy Walker 55), Bradley Barrett (Mark Jones 55), Ben Aldred, Jay Power, Ryan Wilson, Camron Thomas, Craig Nicholson, Shane Walsh, Ali Ouzman (Adrian Devonald 55), Justin Harding.

Monkton Swifts: Thomas Doyle, Jake Seaton, Shaun Jones (Rhodri Davies 68), Ben Nicholas, Martyn Carroll, Chris Richards (Paul Miller 73), Tom Powell, Blake James (Ryan Griffiths 66), Ben Steele, Dylan Davies, James Russell.

Referee: Sean O'Connor.