By Anwar Umar Larry from the Accra Sports Stadium
Accra Hearts of Oak beat Cape Coast Ebusua Dwarfs 2-1 at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Winful Cobbinah's scintillating free-kick broke the deadlock before Joshua Otoo cheekily doubled our lead with a lovely dink over the Dwarfs goalkeeper two minutes before the half-hour mark.
But Joseph Esso pulled a goal back just before the break for Dwarfs however, the hosts held onto their lead to return to winning ways in the league.
With talisman Thomas Abbey suspended for only this game due to the red card he picked up in midweek, Head Coach Frank Nuttall made three changes to the side, welcoming back Fatawu Mohammed and Kwame Kizito from suspension and injury respectively whilst Cobbinah started ahead of Samudeen Ibrahim, who dropped to the bench.
Hearts started the game quite slowly before lifting their momentum in the 15th minute through the hard-to-pin-down Patrick Razak. The speed merchant held the Dwarfs defense in the siege, dummying and baiting them to hack him down in the box, but although they did not fall for Razak's clever ploy, they still fouled him outside the box to give Hearts a free kick.
Cobbinah elected to effect and he bent a lovely effort past the human wall and goalkeeper Razak Issah, who could not flinch as the ball flew past him into the far corner.
The fans were ecstatic with the finish.
Hearts took control but they had to wait for their next moment. Dwarfs went close a couple of times but they over-hit two good free-kicks awarded them in good positions.
However, Hearts were not so forgiving when they had their chance. Cobbinah released the marauding Otoo inside the channel and the flying wingback still had a lot to do with his first touch but he cleverly dinked his effort past the onrushing Dwarfs goalie to double our lead in the 28th minute.
The Phobians took their foot off the gas after doubling their advantage and allowed Dwarfs a way back into the game. Esso reacted quickest when Dwarfs drove in a cross from the left side, and he dived low to head past Ben Mensah at his near post in the 44th minute.
After the break, the game swung from one end to the other with Dwarfs taking slight control.
The Hearts rearguard had to be on their toes to the very end as Dwarfs attempted to earn an equalizer. But they succeeded in holding Dwarfs back and picking up all three points.
Hearts XI vs Dwarfs: Benjamin Mensah, Fatawu Mohammed, Joshua Otoo, Richard Akrofi, Insuah Musah, Leonard Tawiah, Malik Akowuah, Kwame Kizito (92' Agbashie Dotse), Winful Cobbinah (93 Samudeen Ibrahim), Patrick Razak (85 Paul Acquah)
Booked: Malik Akowuah 60
Unused substitutes: Silvanus Evans, Robert Addo, Cosmos Dauda, Kouami Alexandre.
GOALS: Winful Cobbinah 16, Joshua Otoo 28
Dwarfs XI vs Hearts: Razak Issah, Christopher Bonney, Cephas Awunor, Amoah Mensah (c), Dennis Korsah, Kingsley Nteng, Mashudu Awudu, Alhaji Mustapha, Osman Mohammed ( 78 Albert Hammond), Stephen Bentil (7 Raph Esseh Mensah), Joseph Esso
Booked: Frank Andoh, Michael Brew, Eric Bosomtwi, Richard Arhin.
GOAL: Joseph Esso 44
MATCH REFEREE: Alex Nsiah
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: J. ESSO