Hibernians registered their first league win over four months as they came from behind to beat Hamrun Spartans 4-2.
The Paolites had managed to take the lead but Hamrun scored twice by the end of the first half to go 2-1 ahead. However Hibs scored three after the break to secure the three points and close in on Qormi although they still remain second from bottom.
The Spartans welcomed back Massimo Grima but Jonathan Holland and Dene Shields were both missing. Paul McManus returned for Hibernians but Jean Paul Farrugia, Triston Caruana and Warren Chircop were unavailable. For goalkeeper and captain Mario Muscat, this was the 400th appearance in the Hibernians shirt.
Hibernians managed to take the lead on 11 minutes when Edward Herrera concluded a good move on the right flank with a shot that beat goalkeeper Omar Borg.
The Spartans levelled matters four minutes later when the Hibs defence failed to clear a David Camilleri freekick from the left and Massimo Grima tapped the ball home from close range.
Paul McManus went close to putting the Paolites ahead once again on 32 minutes with a shot which hit the posts.
However on 41 minutes, Hamrun regained the lead when Gaetan Spiteri released Ryan Fenech on the right and the latter beat Muascat with a diagonal shot.
Hibernians restored equilibrium on 61 minutes when off a cross by Ryan Camilleri from the right, Bjorn Kristensen rose high to head home past goalkeeper Omar Borg.
The Paolites turned the score in their favour on 73 minutes when Paul McManus, served by Herrera, managed to beat the Hamrun custodian with a shot from close range.
Three minutes from time, Hamrun were reduced to ten men after Ryan Fenech received a second yellow card and was therefore given marching orders by referee Alan Mario Sant.
One minute in added time, Hibernians sealed the issue with a fourth goal as Steve Pisani concluded a fine solo effort by rounding the goalkeeper and placing the ball at the back of the net.
Edward Herrera was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photo: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
HAMRUN Omar Borg, Massimo Grima, Rupert Mangion, Roderick Fenech, Ryan Fenech, Marcelo Pereira, Gaetan Spiteri, Jovan Vukanic, Martin Hrubsa (31′ Aaron Attard), David Camilleri (80′ Peter Anizoba), Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: Ivan Casha, Mark Anthony Bonnici, Mead Mifsud, Karl Magro, Lee James Agius.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Matthew Gauci (77′ Adrian Pulis), Matt Clarke, Zoran Levnajic Edward Herrera, Steve Pisani, Richie Hart, Bjorn Kristensen, Andrew Cohen (81′ Jonathan Pearson), Paul McManus (92′ Matthew Tabone).
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Yan Cauchi, Rene Duca.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Edmond Lufi
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: R. Fenech , R. Camilleri, M. Pereira, M. Grima, B. Kristensen, G. Spiteri, S. Pisani
Red Cards: 87′ Ryan Fenech
Scorers: 11′ Edward Herrera (Hib); 15′ Massimo Grima (HS); 41′ Ryan Fenech (HS); 61′ Bjorn Kristensen (Hib); 73′ Paul McManus (Hib); 90+1′ Steve Pisani (Hib)