Tate grabs late winner for Traf

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TRAFALGAR player-boss Liam Salt was a relieved man after his side snatched a last-gasp 6-5 win at home to Pier to keep their title bid alive.

The visitors opened the scoring when striker Neil Thomas beat the offside trap and fired past Traf keeper Jamie Sanderson. Drew McCoubrey levelled for Traf, but Pier were back in front soon with Paul Provins’ angled drive fizzing into the top corner of the net.

Martin Cooper’s strong shot just before half-time placed Pier firmly in the driving seat.

Robbie Hawkes pulled a goal back for Traf early in the second half, but Thomas linked up well with Provins to provide the latter with his second goal.

Hawkes struck again to make it 4-3, but Mikey Hartnett’s 75th-minute finish looked to have earned all three points for the visitors. Pier had an excellent chance to make it 6-3 shortly afterwards, but with Thomas and Provins both clear they were flagged offside.

This proved to be a major turning point, as from the free-kick Robbie Hawkes completed his hat-trick to make it 5-4 and shortly afterwards the Pikes midfielder hit his fourth to bring the scores level.

With the game seemingly heading for a draw, Kris Tate’s last-gasp corner evaded Pier keeper Gaz Ellwood and his defence to snatch all three points for Traf.

Hawkes was named as Traf’s star man for his tireless work and four goals, while Gaz Thomas, Neil’s older brother, shone at the heart of the Pier defence.

Salt admitted: “We were below-par and were lucky to get the win.”

Pier boss Paddy Parke added: “I feel we deserved at least a point as we played very well.”