United go into game five on Bank Holiday Monday still searching for that first win as Garry Haylock's side slumped to 21st place in the table with a heavy defeat in Hampshire. With Kevin Davies still injured, the manager brought in former Yeading keeper Delroy Preddie in place of the inexperienced John Peacock and Steve Perkins came in for his first start in place of James Edgerley who dropped to the bench.
United started this game at a good pace and just two minutes in a Steven Gregory free-kick was helped on by a defensive header and then only partially cleared to Will Hendry but his 20 yard volley was wide of the target. Hendry started the move minutes later that almost drew first blood for United, having advanced from his own half, the midfielder set up Liam Collins on the right and his near post cross was met by the diving Simon Martin but his effort was just wide of the upright.
Then disaster struck with what must have been the Hawks first real foray forwards, Tom Cadmore was caught out at the corner flag by the ever troublesome Rocky Baptiste who having dispossessed the United man fed Jamie Collins whose strike looked to squirm from Preddie's grasp giving Jamie Slabber the easy task of firing into a virtually unguarded net.
If Preddie was adjudged at fault for the opening goal he made up for it within a minute, Baptiste again beat Cadmore before setting the ball perfectly to Tony Taggart who was denied by Preddie who dived full stretch to push his effort around the post. Despite being adrift, United were in control of the middle part of the half, Hendry sent a superb ball to Collins who moved into the area before seeing Hawks keeper Kevin Scriven palm away his angled drive. Minutes later another fine Gregory corner fell to Collins, his first effort was blocked on the line by Scriven and after Cadmore had fed him the follow up it was home skipper Tom Jordan who was in the right place to hack this off the line too.
Still United pressed, Perkins played in Simon Martin but the striker delayed his strike just long enough for a defender to slide in to block. Just before the half hour mark United were level, despite a second penalty miss in eight days by skipper Nevin Saroya. A half clearance was neatly controlled by Danny Allen-Page who slipped it into the run of Collins who entered the box only to be dumped on the ground by Brett Poate and referee Parsons duly awarded a spot kick. Saroya stepped up only to see his kick touched onto the post by Scriven but thankfully the skipper was alert enough to collect the loose ball and hit it into the roof of the Hawks net.
This finally stirred the home side into a little more adventure sadly and minutes later Preddie was twice on hand to prevent United going behind again. A left wing cross from Taggart was brought down well by Slabber only for Preddie to hold his shot at the foot of the post and within seconds a poor pass at the back allowed Baptiste to run towards goal but the United stopper was alert and grabbed the ball at his feet.
Five minutes later we did indeed go behind again and from the distance we were away it was hard to adjudge whether Preddie was fouled or whether he was totally deceived by Poate's corner kick as it sailed over all and sundry into the far corner of the net to give the Hawks the advantage once more.
United did not take going behind lightly and were soon at the Hawks throats again, Allen-Page and Collins worked an opening on the right and when the latter's cross was met first time by Staforde Palmer only a flick off a defender took the ball wide of the home goal. Six minutes of the half remained when Poate was in the right place, Cadmore met a Gregory corner and the ball looked destined for the net until Poate stepped in the way and cleared at the post.
Just on half-time another Gregory delivery fell perfectly for Perkins but in trying to power his header home he mis-cued and was nearer the corner flag.
The second half was to be nothing of the quality of the first, Palmer who had been injured just before the break was replaced by Edgerley and just four minutes later the stuffing was knocked out of United when the Hawks scored a third. Poate fired across another corner from the right and with Preddie seeming to be static on his line home skipper Jordan powered his header home.
Before the hour mark the Hawks netted a fourth, and although somewhat fortunate you just do not leave Baptiste unattended ten yards from goal. The former Hayes striker being the beneficiary of an off target Shaun Wilkinson shot that he controlled and just turned and fired home totally unopposed.
On the hour mark it was almost worse, a goalmouth melee of attempted clearance saw the ball fall neatly to Jamie Collins but his drive struck a defender before cannoning off the post to safety.
With United showing very little hope of pulling anything back, it was the home side who nearly netted a fifth when substitute Michael McEnery surged forwards before firing an angled drive that Preddie did very well to keep out and Richard Pacquette fired the rebound over the bar.
United created two half chances in the closing minutes, Edgerley picking up a ball from Hendry before firing just wide of the target and a well timed Martin flick to substitute Kieran Knight was just cleared in time by the toe of defender Jay Smith.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.