Despite the absence of left-back Gary MacDonald and influential skipper Tom Cadmore through suspension, Hayes & Yeading United had far too much for the Dragons who were slayed by five goals to nil, a score that equals United's biggest League victory.
It was a slow start to the game with neither side showing a whole lot of forwards motion, the Dragons did however get the ball in the back of the United net on 16 minutes when David Tarpey raced past Steve Perkins before sending the ball across the six yard box to Phil Ruggles who netted but was denied by the assistants flag that was raised for offside. Just a minute later Perkins was again beaten, this time by Allan Tait who also sped past Matt Ruby before whipping in a cross that was intercepted and cleared by Danny Allen-Page in the six yard box.
United then began to slowly put their stamp on the game, Will Hendry and Dale Binns combined with the former chipping weakly into keeper Ross Kitteridge's arms before Allen-Page found Josh Scott on the edge of the area and he turned on the edge of the area before firing wide of the target. Just seconds later though the United top scorer broke the deadlock. Hendry played a slide rule pass to the striker on the right, he cut back past two defenders before firing low past Kitteridge (right).
Five minutes later Ram Marwa found Scott who this time held off Dragons skipper Joe Dolan before seeing his shot blocked by Kitteridge, diving full stretch to his left. Marwa and Scott were becoming a real thorn in Basingstoke's side, again combining with Scott's shot being blocked out to Esmond James but he was well off target with his snapshot.
Nine minutes from the break the lead was doubled, a neat passing move involving Steven Gregory and James led to Marwa being presented with another shooting chance, his effort was across the face of goal but Binns recovered the ball on the left before firing a low cross that Dragons defender Adam Aimable could only turn into his own net (below right).
United continued to dominate, Scott had a shot saved by Kitteridge and Binns saw a drive cannon wide having struck Marwa. With seconds remaining in the half Basingstoke had a chance to pull one back, a long throw from Matt Warner was flicked on by Tait but Ruggles could only find Preddie's midriff with his close range volley.
As has been the pattern for a lot of the season, the start of the second half mirrored the first, on this occasion not a lot being created until the hour mark when another long throw from Matt Warner was flicked on by Rob Watkins to Ruggles but he fired high and wide of the United goal. The Dragons immediately won back the ball and pushed forwards again, a four pass interchange between Tait and Ruggles ended when the latter was tackled by Ruby, the ball though ran nicely to Tom Williamson but his ferocious drive was well blocked by skipper Peter Collins.
United then woke again and started to press for a third, Binns outpaced Sido Jombarti and fed the ball into the area, first Marwa and then Hendry and Gregory all had shots blocked, the last for a corner kick. Hendry took the kick and Gregory got to it first but his header went wide off the outside of the post. The third was only minutes away though and what a scorcher it was. Hendry played the ball across the field with the outside of his foot to Binns and the winger took one touch before blasting across Kitteridge into the far top corner of the Dragons net.
Whilst now comfortably in the driving seat, United were far from finished as they continued to push towards the playoffs. Scott received from Allen-Page and turned between two defenders only to get too close to Kitteridge and the keeper blocked with his legs, seconds later though Scott again received the ball on the edge of the Dragons area via the heads of Ruby and Hendry before turning the last defender to neatly tuck the ball past Kitteridge for his 19th of the season.
With ten minutes remaining Basingstoke had a second goal chalked off, Williamson found Tait from a free-kick and the striker fired past Preddie only to be pulled back by referee Forrester for deliberately handling the ball as he controlled to shoot. Three minutes later United banged in number five when Hendry helped the ball on the substitute Staforde Palmer who hit the bottom corner of Kitteridge's net from 18 yards.
Basingstoke's final flurry saw substitute Sam Tucknott
feed Tait and his shot forced a diving save from Preddie and at the other end Kitteridge denied United a record league victory twice. The first effort saw Binns collect the ball in his own goal area and race the length of the pitch before finding Palmer in the six yard box, a mass of legs saw the striker free the ball and find James Mulley who was denied by Kitteridge's outstretched arm. Kitteridge saved his best for stoppage time, Binns and Marwa played a neat one-two and Binns hit a volley that looked destined for the far corner but for a fine diving save by the Dragons keeper.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
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