By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
At the Accra Sports Stadium. Follow on Twitter: @Akyereko
Accra Hearts of Oak remained resilient to post a slender 2-1 victory over a stubborn Bechem United side at the Accra Sports Stadium in the Ghana Premier League on Sunday.Â
A Prosper Donkor 7th minute thunderous drive cancelled out Emmanuel Hayford's brilliant 2nd minute effort but Ivorian defender Robin Gnagne converted a 78th minute penalty to hand victory to the Phobians.
Second-placed Heart of Lions had lost at relegation threatened Ebusua Dwarfs on Saturday and the Phobians were presented with a glorious chance to close in on Lions but their visitors showed enough resilience to cause more problems for them.
Emmanuel Hayford scored with a frantic effort from a Winful Cobbinah corner in the 2nd minute before a Prosper Donkor explosive blast gave the visitors hope.
Mohammed Polo welcome back center-back Nuru Sulley and Robin Gnagne who missed the defeat at Berekum Chelsea due to injury and suspension while Philip Boampong held down his place in defence.
Bechem United were without the league top-scorer Augustine Okrah who had picked three yellow cards but Asante Agyeman and Patrick Opoku led the attack for the visitors.
Polo altered his front-line by introducing Ezekiel Tetteh to replace the misfiring Selasi Adjei in attack but Eric Kumi remained in attack to pair Tetteh. There was also play in midfield for Emmanuel Hayford who returned from a neck.
Hearts' early pressure yielded results when a corner kick was won on the 2nd minute following a patient build-up from midfield. Cobbinah weighed in a tailor-made cross and Hayford timed his run to nod home for his sixth goal of the season.
But celebrations were short-lived as Philip Boampong was robbed off the ball in the middle, Gnagne and Nuru tried to clear but Prosper forced a powerful shot through which sailed sturdily to the top right corner for the level.
Hearts tried to stamp their authority in midfield but they were occasionally reminded of their duties to keep Opoku and Agyeman on the watch as their counter breaks appeared formidable problems in such circumstances.
Philip Boampong suffered a head injury and needed medical attention while Bechem keeper Ernest Adu's injury forced the referee to play ten minutes of added-time for the first-half.
Emmanuel Hayford fired two long-range efforts which came close to restoring the lead for Hearts but narrowly. None of the sides were unable to threaten goal before the half petered out.
Mohammed took out Tetteh and replaced him without Selasi Adjei but it was Winful Cobbinah's artistry that fetched the match winner for the Phobians.
The former VfL Wolfsburg triallist brilliantly outsmarted his marker inside and was heading for a one-on-one with the keeper before he was brought down a Bechem defender.
Robin Gnagne stepped up and the Ivorian man expertly converted for his 5th goal of the season - all from the spot.