Hayes & Yeading United moved three points closer to securing a play-off place with a 2-1 victory over Bromley at Church Road courtesy of a brace from March's Blue Square Player of the Month Will Hendry.
In the Middlesex sunshine you could be excused for thinking the first half hour was a summer stroll because so little happened you just wondered whether the game would ever come to life. The best chance of the opening third coming from a Bromley free-kick that Adrian Stone knocked down towards Kenny Beaney who was denied as Delroy Preddie smothered the ball as it arrived at his feet.
The game finally came to life after 32 minutes, Dale Binns raced past Mark Corneille on the left before pulling the ball back to Ram Marwa. He in turn touched it to Hendry who with the outside of his weaker left foot fired a shot that beat keeper Gareth Williams, hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing on the line and back up into the roof of the net to give United the lead.
This kick started the game for the home side who finally started to put some moves together that further threatened the Lillywhites goal, Binns being the main instigator. First chance came when his low corner was flicked on by Steven Gregory into a melee of players, Scott Fitzgerald's touch being grabbed by Williams right on the goalline. Binns again found space on the left and played the ball inside to Hendry who clipped a neat ball over the defence only for keeper Williams and the leaping Marwa to miss the ball that then sailed wide of the post.
Minutes before the break a Hendry corner was met by an arriving Gary MacDonald but his volley was just wide of the target and we went into the break with a single goal advantage.
The second half started a little quicker than the first. Just two minutes had been played when Warren McBean ran at the United defence before touching the ball back to Ryan Hall who was denied a chance to trouble Preddie by a fine block from skipper Tom Cadmore. Just before the hour mark, a Hendry pass found Fitzgerald just inside his own half with not a Bromley player between himself and the goal, a delay in bringing the ball under control before playing a throughball to Staforde Palmer gave a defender just enough time to challenge the strikers shot away for a corner.
Palmer tried his luck again a few minutes later when he came in off the right flank to receive a Hendry pass, his shot with the outside of his foot curling just wide of Williams far post. A second for United was only a couple of minutes away though as Marwa headed a clearance on to Fitzgerald, his deft touch threaded the ball to Hendry who neatly turned his marker before rounding Williams (pictured right) and hitting the back of the net past the recovering defender on the line (below).
Still all of the pressure was from United, Palmer tried to squeeze a shot inside the near post only for Williams to push it around the post. From the resultant Binns short corner a return pass from Cadmore saw the wide man hit a deep cross that bounced off the top of the crossbar. Williams was again called upon five minutes later when Hendry curled the ball around the wall from a free-kick only to be denied a hat-trick by a sharp dive to his left from the visiting keeper.
The final ten minutes saw Bromley playing the game out with ten men after Luke I'Anson left the field injured and all substitutes had been used, most surprisingly this sparked their best period of possession in the whole game. Having just earned a free-kick on the edge of the United area that Ashley-Paul Robinson blasted at the wall, a similar kick came in the 89th minute. This time Hall stepped up and beat Preddie to his right into the corner of the United net.
A nervous four minutes of stoppage time followed and with just a minute of that remaining United hearts skipped a beat when Robinson crossed from the left and the ball went over Preddie and glanced over off the top of the crossbar for what would have been a totally undeserved equaliser.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Match Highlights available at www.fcvideo.co.uk
Website United Man of the Match: Will Hendry.