Hayes & Yeading United were replaced at the top of the Allied Counties Premier Division by Northwood thanks to a highly efficient performance by the home side.
In a game of few chances, it was the best player on the park, Aryan Tajbaksh who was to prove the difference between the two sides.
United were close within three minutes of kick off when Esmond James raced onto a Daniel Mehmet pass and bore down on goal and although his shot beat Troy Roach in the Northwood goal, it rolled disappointingly well wide.
James stretched the home defence again on 11 minutes when he chased down a long Ollie Fayed ball and although he was sent wide getting the ball past Birch, he turned towards goal sharply and fired the ball into the danger area only for Nick Glenday to clear assuredly.
A Dominic McAuley long shot was just off target and his corner curled and hit the cross bar as United continued to press, but with their first effort on goal, just before half time, Northwood took the lead. A Tajbaksh free kick held up on the wind causing confusion in the United box and Tyrone Durrant fired the ball across the six yard box where Glenday was on hand to ram the ball home.
McAuley went close at the beginning of the second half when his 20 yard free kick just cleared the cross bar. Tajbaksh hit a volley just over the bar for Northwood as the game went into its most compelling spell. Soon afterwards, James really ought to have scored when presented with a chance right in front of goal by Fayed's bye line cut back, but he shot weakly straight at Birch.
James did better in the 65th minute when Josh Andrew squared the ball to him on the edge of the area and his neat control and volleyed shot forced Birch into a smart save.
However, three minutes later, Tajbaksh was to stretch Northwood's lead further with a 25 yard shot which deflected in over Matthew Faley.
Tajbaksh was running the show and on 71 minutes he almost scored again with a long range effort which just cleared the crossbar.
And it was the Northwood midfielder's pass to Jack Bennett which carved open the United defence on 80 minutes and although Bennett created room for himself, the angle was just too tight for him to squeeze in his shot at the far post.
United got a late lifeline through Allied Counties debutant striker Daniel Wishart. He ran directly into the area and although he was tackled, fellow substitute Ashley Barnes collected the loose ball and played it back into the area. James was just beaten to the ball but it fell perfectly into Wishart's path and he fired in an assured finish to put United back into the game.
But despite a lengthy period of stoppage time being added, United were unable to add a much needed equaliser and so conceded top spot to their hosts.
Report by Nick Bell.