Bridge dramatically beat Hakin to reach first West Wales Intermediate Cup final

Merlins Bridge have reached the final for first time in clubs history

Merlins Bridge have reached the final for first time in club's history

Officials - Ben Sutcliffe, Ryan Kenny, Lindsey Brown, Angus Scourfield 

Officials - Ben Sutcliffe, Ryan Kenny, Lindsey Brown, Angus Scourfield 


West Wales Intermediate Cup – semi-final

Venue: Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium.
Referee: Ryan Kenny.
Assistants: Lindsey Brown and Ben Sutcliffe.
Fourth official: Angus Scourfield.

Hakin United 2 - Merlins Bridge 2
(After extra time – Merlins Bridge win 8-7 on penalties)

Merlins Bridge dramatically won on penalties to secure a history making victory over Hakin United in front of a big crowd at the Bridge Meadow Stadium under lights.

The game finished 2-2 after full time and extra time and then Jimmy Walker cruelly had his penalty saved by Gary Thomas as the Wizards won 8-7 in sudden death spot kicks to march into the final.

The Wizards have reached the West Wales Intermediate Cup for the first time in the club’s history, the final will be played at the Liberty Stadium, but the Vikings certainly played their part in a cracking advert for Pembrokeshire League Football.

Games between Hakin and the Bridge are always keenly contested, and this cup tie didn’t let the large crowd down, with high octane action and plenty of passion for 120 minutes.

The better chances fell to the Wizards in the first half, but they failed to hit the target and the Vikings narrowly led at half time thanks to Nicky Woodrow’s fantastic strike. Midway through the second period the Wizards put the Vikings under pressure and were rewarded when Adam Hawkins equalised with a superb far post header.

Five minutes into the first period of extra time and Leahy fired home to give the Wizards the lead and put them in the driving seat.

Incredibly the Vikings equalised in the 118th minute from the spot when Justin Harding drilled in from 12 yards to force the tie into dreaded penalties.

The first chance fell to the Bridge, a flick on by Leahy found his co striker Greene who beat Leigh Marchant’s strong challenge and Mark Jones slipped allowing the striker to have a good sight at goal, but his low shot was blocked by James Manson.

Minutes later and Vikings’ Justin Harding struck a low shot straight into the grateful arms of Gary Thomas, as this cup tie ebbed and flowed.

The Wizards were awarded a free kick and Leahy’s 30 yard low strike, never had enough pace to really trouble Manson. Minutes later and another half cleared corner fell to Hawkins who struck a vicious half volley that Manson spilled.

Matthew D’Ivry’s team continued to press and they very nearly broke the deadlock, Laurie Haworth made a penetrating run down the left and his cross cum shot struck the angle crossbar with Manson beaten.

What a strike

The Vikings opened the scoring in the 27th minute against the run of play, Nicky Woodrow cut in from the right and struck an unstoppable 20 yard strike which crashed into Gary Thomas’ left hand top corner. A terrific goal by a terrific player.

The Wizards went straight on the ascendency and Laurie Haworth was again denied by the quick thinking Manson who came quickly off his line and got a touch to put it wide.

The second half started off at a frantic pace. Laurie Haworth whipped in a dangerous free kick which the Vikings cleared and D’Ivry fired in the rebound which was blocked.

A lovely flicked on header by Woodrow stet-up team-mate Harding, the striker fired straight at Thomas from the edge of the box.

Shane Walsh bravely headed inside his own box to deny Leahy getting on the end of Jordan Thomas’ goal-bound header.

Lively Laurie Haworth was causing the Vikings defence problems, and the left sided midfielder flashed a low shot across the face of goal.

Textbook header

The Wizards equalised in the 67th minute, Leahy’s well delivered free kick gave the totally unmarked Hawkins the opportunity to score with a textbook far post header.

The Wizards should have taken the lead in the 73rd minute, Laurie Haworth’s clever ball over the top fell to Leahy who failed to slot the ball past Manson with the goal at his mercy.

The Wizards made their first substitution with 6 minutes to go, goal scorer Hawkins was replaced by Will Haworth.

Harding thought he had bagged the winner late on, the striker struck a thunderous low shot from the edge of the 18 yard area which Thomas somehow parried wide.

Four minutes into the first period of extra time Camron Thomas suffering from cramp was replaced by Jimmy Walker.

Clincal finish

The Wizards took the lead in the 96th minute, Leahy showed excellent composure to run clear and clinically fire it past Manson.

The Vikings came close to equalising when Ryan Wilson’s free kick fell to Shane Walsh who saw his close range shot hit the post.

Goal scorer Leahy was replaced by the vastly experienced Richard Hughes on the stroke of half time in the extra time period.

At the death Gary Thomas brilliantly tipped over a fierce shot from Bradley Barrett.

Absorbing stuff

On the brink of full time the Vikings were awarded penalty when Shane Walsh was felled inside the Wizards' box and Harding struck to force the tie into penalties.

It went down to the wire and it was the Wizards went through 8-7 in a thoroughly absorbing semi-final.

Hakin United: James Manson, Ewan Findlay, Mark Jones, Ben Aldred (105 Bradley Barrett), Leigh Marchant (88 Alex Ouzman), Craig Nicholson, Shane Walsh, Justin Harding, Ryan Wilson, Camron Thomas (93 Jimmy Walker), Nicky Woodrow.
Subs not used: Jay Power, Adrian Devonald.

Merlins Bridge: Gary Thomas, Chris Ormond, Andrew John, Jordan Thomas, Matthew D'Ivry (115 Gethin Roberts), Dai Davies, Ashley Beck, Laurie Haworth, Adam Hawkins (84 Will Haworth), Joe Leahy (105 Richard Hughes), Nathan Greene.
 Subs not used: Leon Pemberthy, Joe Haworth.

Hakin United before kick-off.

Hakin United before kick-off