Hayes & Yeading United took on their biggest test of how far they have progressed this afternoon when we travelled to Blue Square Premier outfit Oxford United in the FA Cup. Despite matching the hosts until the break, the strong wind assisted the home sides' long ball game and this coupled with a lucky first goal saw United fall to defeat in the final qualifying round once again.
Hayes & Yeading started well and were unlucky not to take a sixth minute lead when a Steven Gregory corner was met on the volley by central defender Matt Ruby only to see his effort go wide off the outside of the upright. Ram Marwa then dived to meet a Danny Allen-Page cross but headed over while at the other end a long Billy Turley punt saw Jamie Guy flick on to strike partner James Constable but his effort was blocked by fit again skipper Tom Cadmore.
The 13th minute was to prove unlucky for Hayes & Yeading, Josh Scott and Will Hendry interchanged passes before sending the ball wide to James Mulley, his centre was slid into the net by Marwa who turned to see the raised flag of the assistant referee for offside. Four minutes later it was Delroy Preddie to the rescue when Gregory miscued a header back towards his own goal that let in Constable, the stopper saving with his legs before a collaboration of defenders got the ball to safety.
Midway through the half it was another miss-kick, this time by Turley, that almost gifted the visitors a goal. The keepers kick hit the back of Kieran Knight who took possession and found Hendry to his left but his curling shot was off target. Scott fired over the bar before a neat Hendry dummy left the striker to beat his marker but his tame effort was easily fielded by Turley.
The final minutes of the half twice drew Preddie into the action, and twice he came out on top. James Clarke clouted the ball upfield from the back and Constable hit a first time volley that was saved by the diving keeper and then in stoppage time a Turley kick was inadvertently flicked past Ruby by Gregory and again Constable was in but he fired weakly straight at Preddie.
Sadly for Hayes & Yeading the second half was to be very much one way traffic as the wind assisted long balls of Oxford caused many problems for the visiting defence. Two minutes had been played when a Sam Deering corner was nodded back across goal by Lewis Haldane, after Preddie missed his punch, Luke Foster was first to the ball but headed wide from just a few yards out.
Just before the hour mark the home side took the lead with what can only be described as a massive slice of good fortune as Guy received the ball in the area, his shot was blocked by the sliding Ruby only for the ball to loop over Preddie and bounce into the far corner of the net to give the home side the lead.
The next fifteen minutes saw a virtual bombardment of Preddie's goal with no reward for the home side. Adam Murray chipped the ball neatly through to Guy but he was foiled by Preddie who expertly grabbed the ball as the striker tried to round him in a one on one. Guy was freed again minutes later and this time denied by a one handed Preddie save and then Haldane nipped past Allen-Page and Ruby but fired wide when confronted by the on-coming Preddie.
Then came the second goal that gave the home side the breathing space that they had long sought. Substitute Yemi Odubade broke free on the right flank and sent in a cross that provided Constable with a tap in from close range.
Shortly after the goal, Hayes & Yeading substitute Esmond James found his way past Chris Carruthers to the byeline, his cross was part cleared to Gregory but Turley easily dealt with his 20 yard shot. For the hosts, Odubade twice made space for himself without a couple of minutes, the first being blazed over the bar before the former Eastbourne striker was denied by a Cadmore tackle after the defender had slipped to allow him space.
The closest to finding the net in the final ten minutes again fell to the home side when Murray sent the lively Deering through but with just Preddie to beat, the keeper did well to block his first effort before showing excellent speed of thought to get his hand to the follow up which then hit Constable and rolled wide for a goal-kick.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Match Highlights available at www.fcvideo.co.uk
Website United Man of the Match: Delroy Preddie.