Manager Garry Haylock made four changes to his regular starting line-up as United went on to beat League leaders Chelmsford City in this FA Trophy tie courtesy of four strikes from striker Kieran Knight.
Hayes & Yeading made a good start against a Chelmsford side that have dropped just two points away from home in the league so far this season. In fact it took United just 12 minutes to take the lead, Ram Marwa battled hard to retain possession on the edge of the Clarets area and when the ball ran loose to Knight, the striker perfectly chipped keeper Danny Gay with the outside of his foot.
With the top two still sizing each other up, it was not until midway through the half when chances started to come again. Knight broke away from his own half before finding Toby Little on the left, sadly the winger's touch was a little too heavy and Gay was able to dive at his feet as the ball reached the Chelmsford area. The Clarets then started to put some pressure on skipper Tom Cadmore and his fellow defenders. Visiting skipper Andy Duncan rose to meet a corner but headed over before Aaron Howe was called into action after Ricky Holmes set up Kevin James for a strike that the United stopper saved comfortably.
Two more chances came the way of the Clarets as the break approached. Chris Moore found space on the right flank to fire a far post cross that Holmes headed well wide of the target and minutes later Holmes tried his luck again, this time from just outside the area but his shot sailed wide of the far post.
United could not have started the second half in a better way, taking just 93 seconds to double the lead. Tom Cadmore did well not to concede possession on the edge of his own area before moving forwards and playing a superb throughball that saw Knight outpace Steve Ward before coolly slotting past Gay's dive.
Ten minutes later United were again threatening the Clarets goal, James Mulley aimed a long throw towards Scott Fitzgerald, Ian Cousins headed clear but only to Steven Gregory who hit a dipping first time volley that Gay acrobatically tipped over the crossbar. Around the hour mark the visiting Clarets had two chances to find the net. Jon Keeling fired a free-kick from the centre circle that picked out Holmes perfectly at the far post where he made room to shoot but again was just too high. Jeff Minton then raced away down the right side before seeing his pass flicked on to Ollie Berquez by Moore but he under pressure from Matt Ruby, fired too close to Howe in the United goal and the keeper saved.
In the 72nd minute
Gregory won the ball in his own half and with the Clarets pushed right up onto the halfway line, his pass found Fitzgerald who headed on to Knight who turned his marker before leaving him in his wake as he raced towards the Clarets goal and duly completed his hat-trick by beating the totally unprotected Gay.
By this time Steve Perkins had already replaced Ruby in the centre of defence and he was soon to be joined by Peter Collins who replaced the ever dependable Cadmore. With four minutes to go the visitors were gifted a goal when Perkins appeared to meet the ball with his arm above his head and Dave Rainford smashed home the penalty giving Howe no chance and in turn denying him a deserved clean sheet.
It took United just two minutes to return the advantage
to three when a header from the halfway line found Knight and he coolly lifted the ball over the advancing Gay, who was caught in no man's land, to become the first ever United player to hit four goals in a game.
There was still time during the six added minutes for both sides to miss great opportunities to "trouble the scorers". For United, Esmond James crossed from the right side to a waiting Fitzgerald but he missed his kick in front of goal. At the other end a Bertie Brayley free-kick from the edge of the area was palmed away by Howe and then fired across the face of goal from the foot of the post when it looked easier to score.
The downside to the victory was a late knee injury to Toby Little who was only making his second start of the season after recovering from an injury to his other knee. We wish "Tubes" a speedy return to action.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Match Highlights available at www.fcvideo.co.uk
Website United Man of the Match: Kieran Knight.