Holders Northwood made progress in the Middlesex Senior Cup with a 2-1 victory over a very youthful looking Hayes & Yeading United side.
United gave debuts to seven players including youth team players Ray Curtis and Josh Andrews and although they found the going tough at times, there was little discernable difference in quality between the two sides. The side also included veteran coach Gareth Hall who at 38 years of age becomes United's oldest player!
Most of Northwood’s first half chances came from the dangerous dead ball delivery of Elliott Buchanan. With corners he found Simeon Howell, who blasted just over from long range, Bradley Hewitt twice, the first time he laid the ball on a plate for Jerome Hall who somehow looped his shot over the bar from just in front of goal and the second chance he headed just wide and he found Adrian Abramian whose goalbound header was cleared off the line by Curtis. He also managed to pick out Abramian with a searching pass but John Peacock pushed his shot over the bar.
In the meantime, Hayes & Yeading United had taken a surprise lead against the run of play. Staforde Palmer turned sharply in the box, too sharply for Hewitt who tripped him and Palmer duly converted the penalty.
Northwood had a great chance to equalise in the 39th minute when Peter Collins pushed Abramian in the box and referee Marvin Thompson duly awarded another penalty. Peacock made a great save to deny Buchanan low to his left.
Sadly for United, in first half stoppage time yet another penalty was awarded to the home side when Michael Barima handled a cross. This time Buchanan sent Peacock the wrong way with a firmly struck shot.
Both Peacock and Mitch Swain were pressed into action soon after half time to catch long shots by Abramian and Mulley respectively. Soon afterwards, Danny Hart cut across goal and fired a shot just wide of the top corner. From the following goal kick, Peacock’s low pass was intercepted but he immediately atoned for this error by saving Buchanan’s low shot.
Peacock again made a fine save to deny Abramian after Buchanan had created a lot of space in the area and put his strike partner in on goal, but Hayes & Yeading immediately went back on the offensive, James Mulley firing over after having cut inside to receive Palmer’s square pass.
Northwood finally settled it in the 73rd minute. With the ball ricocheting around the penalty area, and John Peacock making a very smart save in the process, he thought he’d also kept Buchanan’s angled shot out as well, only to see the assistant referee signalling a goal.
Rhys Price’s rather tame effort never looked like troubling Mitch Swain as United’s youngsters energy seemed to sap towards the end and Northwood ran out time comfortably in the end to book their place in the quarter finals.
Report by Nick Bell.