With Colin Davis at the helm, Hayes & Yeading United started their inaugural Capital League campaign with a victory against last years Divisional Champions Harrow Borough at a rain soaked Warren on Wednesday evening.
The first half was nothing to shout about as both sides struggled to find their touch on a very slippery pitch. Staforde Palmer went close for United early on and keeper Aaron Howe did well to palm away a Kurt Molesse drive from the tightest of angles.
Both Palmer and Molesse had chances for their respective sides but failed to trouble the keepers before the best chance of the half fell to the United striker who failed to convert a James Mulley centre from close in, the ball found its way immediately back to Mulley who was clattered from behind but denied the seemingly stonewall penalty as referee Pardoe waved play on.
The second half was to be much more entertaining as the rain had ceased and both sides started to advance with real intent. The first talking point coming just four minutes in when Bobby Hughes surged through all and sundry only to be tripped in the area but again Mr Pardoe waved the protests away.
On the hour mark we saw an abundance of chances in a ten minute spell, including two goals for Palmer. Hughes played the ball forwards and Ollie Fayed out jumped his marker to head towards the run of Palmer, the speedy striker toeing the ball away from the waiting hands of Borough keeper Ben Harris before firing home from an acute angle.
Malakai Bulley fired over after being set by Kieran Knight and just two minutes later Bulley provided a perfect through ball that saw Palmer outpace his marker before rounding Harris and again firing into the corner of the Borough net.
Despite this double blow, the visitors did not let their heads drop, a long range free kick on the wet surface was well gathered by Howe who was on hand a minute later to hold a rasping drive from Molesse. Chances still came thick and fast as a neat Palmer back heel fell perfectly to Knight who saw his powerful drive superbly stopped by the diving Harris.
Just eight minutes remained when the visitors were awarded a penalty for a push by skipper Ray Curtis much to the amazement of those watching having seen United twice denied by the man in the middle earlier. Molesse stepped up and smashed the spot kick past Howe to give his side hope of a late recovery.
United were not to be denied though and were in fact very unlucky not to have scored again themselves with two minutes remaining. Substitute Will Joseph cutting inside from the left before unleashing a piledriver with his less favoured right foot that beat Harris only to crash back off the underside of the crossbar.
The game also saw a return from injury for Peter Collins who played the full 90 minutes to put himself in contention for a recall on Saturday.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Website United Man of the Match: Ray Curtis.