Happy Valley set for crunch league clash
TITLE pretenders Happy Valley face a crunch First Division clash against Frankwell at Mongkok Stadium tonight.
Valley know that victory would see them leapfrog shock second-phase leaders Eastern - but, surprisingly, thoughts of relegation are uppermost in their minds.
Valley are currently seventh in the aggregate standings taken over the two phases of the First Division table with 16 points.
They finished fourth from bottom after a relegation dogfight with Frankwell, Mansion and Eastern in a disappointing first-phase campaign.
Valley team manager Paul Hong Po-kiu said: 'We can't afford to lose any more matches. If we lose tonight, things will be extremely difficult for us since we have still to face South China and Golden.
'But if we win, we have a chance of actually winning the second phase and securing an end-of-season play-off final place against first-phase winners South China.' Valley have been working hard since the second-phase started in December and have already beaten Uhlsport-Rangers and Instant-Dict.
Their latest signing - giant goalkeeper Felix Golindano from Venezuela - made an impressive debut when Happy Valley beat the Dickies 2-0 on January 18.
Valley travelled to Guangdong for a five-day training camp last week. They drew 0-0 with Chinese National League newcomers Shenzhen and 1-1 with Guangdong.
Meanwhile, Golden moved up to second spot in the table after beating Club 3-0 at Mongkok last night before just 89 spectators - the lowest attendance at Mongkok this season.
Goals from Bosnian striker Anto Grabo and former Wimbledon left-winger Carlton Fairweather in the 11th and 12th minutes put Golden in the driving seat.
Lee Bullen's 54th-minute penalty sealed the win.
Instant-Dict midfielder Tim O'Shea will miss Friday's match against Golden after being given a one-match ban for his dismissal against Happy Valley.