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12.02.2009 League Report

Hearts labour to keep grip on League

By gna
Hearts labour to keep grip on League

Premier League leaders, Accra Hearts of Oak laboured in a scrappy game to squeeze a 2-1 win over Obuasi Ashgold to keep their hold on the 10-week old league game played at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra on Wednesday.

The Phobians coming from their vintage win over Kumasi Asante Kotoko last Sunday started as the favourites but the team appeared exhausted and struggled in the game in which the visitors had chances to go home with three points but lacked ideas up front.

Hearts survived an initial Ashgold invasion which should have put the visitors ahead but Nana Arhin Duah missed from a close range when approached with a free header only five minutes into the game.

With the game eventually reduced to a midfield battle where Hearts Kofi Abanga, Esmen Mends and Obed Ansah controlled the engine room with the league leaders having a rear chance at goal in the 17minute when Charles Taylor craftily set up Samuel Affum who proved woefully wasteful with that opportunity.

In a much more difficult situation four minutes on, the youngster atoned for the earlier apathy with a classy goal initiated by Mends from the middle.

Mends took charge of possession beautifully, passed to Gawu who lifted the ball above two defenders to pick out Affum. The player controlled well in-between two markers and took a half volley on the turn to leave goalkeeper James Nanor out of source in the post to register the first goal.

Challenged by the goal, the struggling “Miners” began fighting which was to pay off in a matter of minutes. Ashgold earned a corner kick after invading the Phobians' final third and when the in-swing was sent in, Abdul Aziz Yusif sent a glancing free header into the net to bring the scores at par seven minutes on.

The fight progressed and it was Ashgold who came off the best side but their amazing dearth in-front of goals underscored why the former champions are second from the bottom of the 16-team table.

Just before recess, Ansah had a rear chance at goal but the midfielder made a meal out of the opportunity orchestrated by Taylor to send the game to recess with the scores unchanged.

Action switched after the break and Ashgold was the beneficiary with Hearts struggling to piece their game together while the visitors held the advantage but proved wasteful whenever they approached the final third.

Hearts however had the last laugh when they earned a corner kick against the run of play after Ashgold dealt poorly with a harmless shot at goal. When the kick was effected, Ansah took a low grounder that eluded everyone and zoomed into the net to break the visitor's heart who played in such a way as if they were content wit a draw as they resorted to delay tactics before the added on time goal that shattered the entire team to the turf before the final whistle.