Accra Hearts of Oak yesterday stretched the lead in the Southern sector Normalisation Committee special competition after beating Karela FC 1-0 in their week 12 fixture played at the Accra Sports Stadium.
A second half penalty by Christopher Bonney in the 75th minute separated the boys from the men in the thrilling encounter.
Hearts had the penalty after skipper Abdul Fatawu was fouled by his marker in the Karela goal area.
The win establishes a four-point gap between the Phobians and their close competitors, Karela.
However, Hearts had to grab the win by the skin of their teeth as the visitors fought hard to contain their host and created several chances which they failed to capitalize on.
The task for Hearts was made even more difficult as their attackers lacked the ideas to break the resolute defense of Karela.
They created very good chances but Joseph Asso was unable to find the back of the net.
When the rains set in about 15 minutes into the first half, it disrupted the rhythm of the game as both set of players struggled to maintain possession on the slippery surface.
Karela came back strongly in the second half and missed a good chance in the 47th minute when Diawisie Taylor forced a brilliant save from the Hearts goalie after he was put through on goal.
They followed up with another chance in the 50th minute but this time, the opportunity fell to Solomon Safo Taylor who also fired over the bar.
Hearts brought on Malik Akowuah and Kofi Kodzie into the fray to give them some stability in midfield.
That move worked perfectly as Hearts took control of the game and switched into a more attacking mode; resulting in the goalmouth scramble that led to the award of the penalty.
BY MICHAEL D.ABAYATEYE