Simon East’s under 18’s claimed Hayes & Yeading United’s first ever title when two goals in the final quarter of the game saw them lift the Middlesex Senior Youth Cup at Northwood against a very well organised Ashford side.
United were to dominate from the off and inside the first 25 minutes Josh Andrew alone had hit the woodwork no fewer than three times. Early efforts from Joakim Ehui and Nathan Webb were just off target before a Jake Lovell centre was met by Andrew but he could only head into the welcoming arms of keeper Dan Kennard.
In the 13th minute Andrew fed the ball through to Lovell who turned his marker only for Kennard to block his shot, Webb fed the ball straight back inside to Daniel Wishart but his shot on the turn was marginally too high.
Two minutes later the woodwork was rattled for the first time, Wishart outpaced Tom Snowden and Byron Watkins before playing Andrew through, his shot beat Kennard but came back off the face of the bar and was cleared.
Lovell then ghosted past Samad Kazi but shot wide before an Andrew cross from the right flew over Kennard before coming back into play off the far post. Still United kept up the pressure and just a few minutes later centre-back Charlie Wassmer crossed from the left to Andrew who glanced a header past Kennard but could only watch as again the upright foiled his attempt.
The rest of the half was played out without much incident.
Ashford came out in the second half showing more forward motion which made it a much more even half. The first chance still came United’s way though as Lovell got his head to an Andrew centre but could not keep the ball down.
It was fully 64 minutes before Simon Grant in the United goal was called into action. Tom Butler played a neat ball down the left line to Daryl Loates who moved into the United area and with team-mates awaiting a cross he chose to drive for goal from a tight angle but Grant did extremely well to hold the ball as the Ashford forwards were ready to pounce on any error.
Shortly after Ashford’s Ryan Bona who was dismissed earlier in the season against United, once again saw red when he was cautioned for a late tackle that really gave referee Peter Smith little choice but to show him a second yellow card.
Simon East then threw Ashley Barnes into the fray in place of Webb and it was Barnes who went close a few minutes later when he met a Lovell centre with a first time shot that went just wide of the target. Three minutes later the deadlock was finally broken, Wassmer played a long ball out of defence that Lovell brought under control before playing it to Andrew who this time avoided the woodwork and tucked it past Kennard into the corner of the Ashford net.
Ashford’s best chance of pulling the game level came five minutes after going behind when a neat George Baldock chip over the United defence saw Grant hold on superbly under challenge from Lewis Wombwell.
Two minutes remained and the unusually subdued Lovell had two chances to find the net but on both occasions was denied by excellent defending from Kazi. Lovell was not to be denied his goal though and in stoppage time Wishart tried his luck from 35 yards with a vicious dipping shot that Kennard spilled, Lovell getting to the loose ball quickest only to be dragged down by Kennard.
Lovell himself stepped up to take the kick but Kennard dived to his left to push the kick out, quick thinking from Mark Goodman though saw the substitute get to the ball first and square it to Lovell who had the simple task of wrapping up the silverware.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos courtesy of M.C.F.A.
M.C.F.A. Man of the Match: Josh Andrew.