Hayes & Yeading United earned a vital three points at Church Road this afternoon in a tight game against St Albans City, all three goals coming within minutes of the interval, two before and one after.
Dale Binns, on his home debut, was first to get the crowds voices raised when he received a Will Hendry pass midway into his won half before racing to the edge of the Saints area, sadly his final effort was far too high to trouble Paul Bastock in the visitors goal. Bastock was however called into action five minutes later when Esmond James headed the ball skywards, it fell nicely to Ram Marwa but his 30 yard volley was well held by the Saints keeper.
Just a minute later Saints Jonathan Hunt curled a free-kick into the danger area inside the United area, James Fisher got his head to the ball first but his flick was just wide of Delroy Preddie's far post. For United, Josh Scott was just wide with a header from a Binns corner before Hunt again curled a free-kick into the United area, Fisher again met the ball with his head, this time the woodwork came to United's rescue as the effort went over off the crossbar.
Ten minutes remained in the half when Steven Gregory forced Bastock into a save as he volleyed goalwards from distance having latched onto a poor Fisher clearance. Saints came straight back at United and only a superb reflex save from Preddie kept the scoresheet blank. Former United man Simon Martin, on as a early substitute for the injured Ryan Frater, crossed from the bye-line to Hunt, his header from six yards out was palmed out by Preddie and Matt Ruby did well to slide the loose ball wide as Paul Hakim was ready to pounce.
Two minutes now remained before the break, Matt Ruby found himself upfield following a free-kick, he made space on the left flank and played the ball inside to Hendry, he in turn fired across goal and Marwa ran in to net from close range to give United the lead (pictured below).
Seconds later it could have been two as Scott and Bastock tussled for the ball outside the Saints area, the striker winning the ball and hitting it towards goal only to be denied by Scott Cousins who cleared the danger. Still the action was not over as Saints pulled the game level. Hunt made space for himself on the left side before pulling the ball back to Solomon Sheilds who fired first time past Preddie's despairing dive.
What was to prove to be the decisive strike was not pretty but they all count. Three minutes after the break, a teasing Binns corner was met by Scott, his header came back off the crossbar and Ruby was quick enough to force the loose ball over the line.
Within minutes United could have had two more, Hendry was denied by Bastock who tipped his attempted lob over the bar and then Tom Cadmore rose to head home a Binns corner only to be denied by the referee's whistle as he penalised United for a push before the ball was headed into the net.
Ten minutes of the half had now passed and Bastock was again called on to save a Scott shot after a well placed Gregory throughball and minutes later it should have been three. Marwa sent Hendry through, his mis-cued shot fell nicely to Scott who was unmarked at the far post but he somehow contrived to hit the post and the ball went wide.
The final half hour of the game was almost devoid of goalscoring chances, just a couple for the visitors headed into the notebook. Hakim struggled free from Cadmore's attention on the edge of the area but he fired well wide of the far post and just three minutes later Ruby beat Hakim to the ball on the edge with the loose ball running to Fisher who shot weakly at Preddie.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Match Highlights available at www.fcvideo.co.uk
Website United Man of the Match: Ram Marwa.