Howkins goal secures three points

STEVE Howkins hit the winner as Ardley United beat Flackwell Heath 2-1 in the Boxing Day derby.

It was Flackwell who started the stronger in the UHLSport Hellenic League clash, forcing Joe White into a early save. Three corners in succession for the visitors gave Ardley the wake-up call they needed.

Troy Bryan latched on to a through ball, his shot was parried by keeper Sam Southerden but Bryan made no mistake from the rebound to put Ardley in front against the run of play.

Ardley were happy to play down the flanks where both wide men could gain some control. From one such cross Steve Howkins saw his goal bound effort ricochet off the bar to safety.

The second half saw the home side adapt the better, and more in control. Stuart Bridges did well to scoop the ball out of the mud to set-up Howkins. His composure in front of goal was superb, slotting the ball wide of Southerden.

Flackwell were not finished, a break down the right side saw the ball passed across the pitch to the far post and Adam Harman was on hand to put away the easiest of chances.

Plenty of time was still available, and it proved to be a tense finish. An equaliser looked likely when Flackwell won a couple of corners late on but the Ardley stood strong to take all three points.