Hearts Pip AshGold
At the Ohene Djan Sports stadium in Accra, Defending League champions, Accra Hearts of Oak extended their lead on the ninth week GT Premier League with three points after a hard fought lone goal victory over visiting AshantiGold on Thursday.
In a week which saw all the title chasers drawing their matches, it was Hearts who stood tall at the end of the day by silencing the Miners with a first half strike by Prince Tagoe in a foul infested match, which saw referee Cecil Fletcher from Takoradi showing ten yellow cards and a red card to the players.
The match started on a very high note as both sides opened their onslaught with packed midfields resulting in a lot of faulty passes as the players were not given enough space to operate.
The first sniff at goal came in the fourth minute when former Kotoko defender, Joe Hendricks blundered in front of goal to allow Tagoe to go through but his shot zoomed straight into the hands of George Owu in post for Ashgold.
Like a balancing act, Hearts Daniel Coleman presented a similar opportunity to Ashgold's Shaibu Yakubu who laid the ball on the path of Emmanuel Osei Kufuor formerly of Hearts but the striker also shot straight at Sulemans Abubakar in goal for Hearts.
The game, which was very physical saw its first yellow card in the 12th minute when Dan Asamoah fouled James Tagoe.
Ashgold suffered a set back in the 14th minute when their skipper Kofi Amoaku whose career has been blithered by injuries, limped off the field and was replaced by Tony Baffoe.
With both teams settling into their rhythm, the Miners were unfortunate to have a goal scored disallowed when Mathew Atiogbe was adjudged to be in an off side position before he fired the ball into the net in the 22nd minute.
Hearts reply to the disallowed goal was almost immediate when in the 26th minute, Tagoe rose above the entire Ashgold defence to head a well floated cross from Bernard Don Bortey well beyond the reach of keeper Owu for the only goal of the match.
Ashgold did not sit back after conceding the goal and pushed forward for the equaliser which nearly came their way in the 35th minute when Kuffour threaded the ball through a host of legs to Shaibu Yakubu who uncharacteristically shot wide in front of an open goal posts. The second half started with the Miners dictating proceedings but the hard tackling defence of Hearts kept the attackers at bay. From the hour mark, Referee Fletcher appeared to have lost control of the game as it degenerated into roughhouse tactics with dangerous tackles flying in from all directions.
The Referee had no alternative than to resort to issuing yellow cards to the offending players to stem the game from further getting out of hand. In the 63rd minute, Ashgold were reduced to 10 men when Mubarak Wakasu clattered into Hearts Eric Nyarko who was sent sprawling on the ground.
The Miners even with a man down still managed to take control of the game and pushed hard for the equaliser, which never came their way till the final whistle.