Howards hits a hat-trick as Ardley complete comeback

Leam Howards completed a hat-trick for Ardley United
Leam Howards completed a hat-trick for Ardley United
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Leam Howards completed a hat-trick as Ardley United rounded off the UHLSport Hellenic League campaign with a victory.

Ardley finished their premier division fixtures with a 4-3 victory at Longlevens in Saturday’s thriller.

Longlevens took a fifth minute lead when Darren Ofoe headed past Nick Bennion and three minutes later doubled their advantage when Max Harper-Emerson fired in from the edge of the box.

Matt Cruse had a couple of chances before having a big hand in Ardley reduced the arrears in the 18th minute. In between the defence, Cruse got a shot away that Luke Merchant parried and Howards slotted into the unguarded net.

Joel Meade and Carl Tappin went close before Howards stabbed wide from six yards. But on the stroke of halftime Ardley equalised when a ball over the home defence saw Cruse allow the ball to bounce before driving home from 20 yards.

Longlevens regained the lead ten minutes into the second half, Ofoe found himself one-on-one with Bennion and the striker slotted home.

Ardley equalised again in the 62nd minute, Cruse’s shot was saved by substitute keeper Mark Harris but the ball looped up and Sergio Guerrero teed-up Howards who fired home.

Cruse hit the post, Tappin had a couple of chances, Meade saw an effort blocked at close range and Howards fired over.

But four minutes into stoppage-time Declan Benjamin ran into the box and was upended. Howards fired home from the ensuing spot-kick to complete his treble and nick the win for Ardley.