Courtesy of first half strikes from the two Scott's, Garry Haylock's side marched to the top of the Blue Square South with a very tight and hard fought victory against previously unbeaten AFC Wimbledon who are managed and skippered by former Hayes FC legends Terry Brown and Jason Goodliffe.
Hayes & Yeading United were dealt a blow before the start when influential midfielder Ram Marwa was ruled out through injury, such is the strength of United's squad though the gaffer was able to slot in Esmond James on the right and move James Mulley inside without unbalancing the side.
In front of, not surprisingly, United's record crowd it was the visitors who were into their stride quickest as Jon Main flashed a header wide of the post in just the second minute. United found their feet quickly and Josh Scott was just beaten to a Scott Fitzgerald flick on by Dons keeper Andy Little who had raced from his line to hack clear.
In the 18th minute the visitors large travelling contingent
must have thought they had taken the lead. Tom Davis crossed deep from the right side, finding Tony Finn alone at the far post but his first time strike from 6 yards was superbly kept out by the trailing leg of Aaron Howe's dive. This close shave was to prove a catalyst for United, Steven Gregory fired a corner kick to the far post where Scott rose highest to net a rare headed goal.
Sadly for United the lead lasted just three minutes, again a corner being the provider. The kick by Chris Hussey from the right was punched away by Howe but fell perfectly for Elliott Godfrey who hit a perfectly crisp volley that Howe probably didn't even see let alone keep out as it smashed into the back of the net.
Ten minutes remained in the first half as Davis planted a free-kick into the United area that was met by Main, although his header went skywards it still required a touch over the crossbar by Howe as Goodliffe closed in. The resultant corner was met by Danny Kedwell but Neil Martin was on hand to clear his effort off the line.
Once again almost conceding at one end sparked life into United and a goal resulted. Steven Gregory won possession outside the Dons area and his perfect ball was turned past Little from close range by Fitzgerald (pictured above) despite calls from the Dons keeper that the striker was offside.
as the half drew to a close United could have extended their lead, Will Hendry saw a shot from just outside the area bounce back off Little's chest but was gathered and just seconds later Fitzgerald found himself rounding Little but was driven wide, he did however cut back and get his shot in but Little was well placed by now to make the save.
Fitzgerald almost sprang a surprise a couple of minutes into the second half when he tried for the top corner from 25 yards but Little managed to capture the ball after juggling it on the line. Hendry and Danny Allen-Page then both went close for United before a Hussey free-kick was only partially cleared and Godfrey tried his luck on the volley again, this time skipper Tom Cadmore got his forehead in the way to head the ball over.
The Dons manager Terry Brown made a triple switch with 16 minutes remaining and his side could have levelled shortly afterwards as the ball was chipped neatly over the United defence to Main but his weak volley was handled comfortably by Howe. With five minutes remaining and the visitors throwing everything forwards, it was United who almost hit them on the break. Gregory won the ball in the middle of the park and fed James Mulley who raced forwards against the last defender squaring the ball to Hendry who tried to place his shot into the top corner but was just too high.
Just one minute of normal time remained and I still cannot believe the ball did not end up in the United net. Kennedy Adjei crossed from the left and only the slightest of touches by Cadmore took the ball off the head of Main for a corner. The kick was met powerfully by Alan Inns, a United defender on the line superbly got his head to the ball that then hit the underside of the bar and bounced back into play where Howe was quickly down to smother the loose ball amongst a plethora of flying legs.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Tim Fuell.
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Sponsors United Man of the Match: Scott Fitzgerald.