Hayes & Yeading United's lack of fit strikers was a contributing factor in our exit from the County Cup this evening at Preston Park but credit must go to the home side who battled every inch of the way before taking the tie in extra time.
An early chance for Hayes & Yeading saw Jake Lovell rise to meet a Gary MacDonald free-kick but his header was too high to cause alarm to Charlie Miller in the Hares goal. Luke Lloyd then went close for the home side before Miller was called upon to grasp a Ram Marwa shot. The few chances that were forthcoming were being created by the visitors, Lovell was denied by Miller after good approach play by Steven Gregory and this was closely followed by a swerving free-kick from Staforde Palmer that went wide off Miller's legs.
Hayes & Yeading
started the second half well and within 90 seconds could have been ahead on two occasions. Lovell received the ball from Esmond James but his shot was deflected wide for a corner that was fed to Leon Solomon but his drive was off target. James then made a run at goal himself but fired across the face and wide of the far post.
Palmer then saw a cross come shot from the tightest of angles hit the post after Miller fumbled and ten minutes later Miller grabbed hold of a Peter Collins diving header at the second attempt. Our best chance came twenty minutes from time when Palmer broke clear and hit a shot that Miller did superbly to push up into the air and Hares defender Luke Willis outjumped Lovell to head the loose ball clear.
The Hares then began to take a little bit of control on the game. Howe was forced into a save from former FEDO player Chris Drake who met an Adam Willis cross sweetly from the edge of the area and at the other end Andre Costa tried his luck from 25 yards but his shot dipped too late and cleared Miller's bar.
Just two minutes into extra time, Howe gathered at the third attempt from an Adam Willis free-kick minutes later at the other end Danny Allen-Page's cross was half cleared by Gary Williams to Gregory who once more was just too high with a volley. What was to prove the decisive strike came after 101 minutes, the impressive Joe Kelly broke away on the right after Collins had slipped, his centre found a sliding Lloyd at the far post and he guided the ball home.
Hayes & Yeading tried to push forwards to pull it back but were constantly thwarted by errant passing or a well marshalled Hares defence. Lovell was again denied by Miller as the keeper pushed his shot over the bar and the Hares stopper again pulled off a fine save when a Gregory free-kick was rolled to Allen-Page on the edge of the area and he fired goalwards.
Despite pushing Matt Ruby up front in the final minutes it was to no avail and it is Harefield who progress to the quarter-finals of this years Senior Cup.
Report by Kevin Watts.