HAPPY Valley's prodigal son Wong Fuk-wing repaid the club's faith in him when he paved the way for a crucial 2-1 win over fellow Hongkong First Division relegation candidates Kui Tan at Shamshuipo Sports Ground last night.
Valley, second from bottom, are now only two points behind Kui Tan and have two games in hand, this victory considerably easing their relegation worries.
Wong, who left Valley for what proved to be a disappointing stint at Sing Tao earlier this season and rejoined Valley in February, put his side ahead with a 51st minute goal.
He was sent clear by Hau Yiu-tak, whose well-timed through-ball beat the offside trap, allowing Wong to run on and squeeze the ball past goalkeeper Yam Wai-hung.
Valley increased their lead in the 56th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Kui Tan defender Chu Chung-kai handled. Veteran midfielder Leung Nang-nan converted. Kui Tan's sporadic attacks produced only a small handful of chances, and when Jason Loryman saw his powerful header parried away by goalkeeper Li Zhijianin in the 76th minute, their fate seemed sealed.
But Stuart McCall made his presence felt when coming on as substitute four minutes later, helping set up an 83rd-minute goal for Ng Chun-chung which set up a rousing finish.
McCall headed on a Pau Ka-yiu's free-kick and Ng volleyed home.
But Valley held on for their second successive victory, following a 1-0 win over Michelotti last week.
Valley's chances of survival now look better than Kui Tan's, although their remaining four fixtures include leaders Eastern and Viceroy Cup winners South China. They also play Sing Tao and British Forces.
Kui Tan still have to play Instant-Dict, and British Forces, who are already doomed to one of the two relegation spots.
Football in Hong Kong