Hayes & Yeading United won through to the third round of the Allied Counties League Cup but were pressed all the way by an Old Woodstock Town side who played half of the match with ten men.
The freezing cold weather and lumpy pitch made playing good football difficult, but United opened the Old Woodstock defence as early as the third minute when Badreddine Sharaj’s long ball found Josh Andrew, who controlled and fired straight at Max Dunmall.
Ashley Barnes tested Dunmall again when controlling a stray Jake Edmunds shot before firing a shot towards goal but the home keeper pulled off a brave block.
A smart move on the left involving Reece Fleary and Jack Todd created the next opening for United with the ball centred to Barnes who picked out Andrew. Andrew’s shot looked destined for the corner but again, Dunmall got just enough on it to deflect the ball off target.
Old Woodstock gained in confidence having weathered the initial onslaught and as the snow came down, earned two free kicks in the D. Aston Shaw hit them both and after his first allowed Alex Tokarczyk to catch very comfortably, the second made him stretch to tip the ball onto the bar and away.
In the 34th minute, United took the lead. Ashley Barnes hit a weak shot which kicked up off a divot in the pitch and struck Lawrence Afford on the hand for the award of a rather fortunate penalty. Abdula Nsubuga coolly sent Dunmall the wrong way from the spot.
Danny Roberts and Tom White combined to set up Max Roberts as Old Woodstock came back at United, but his volley was well held by Tokarczyk. Danny Roberts then hit another long shot which was easy for Tokarczyk.
However, Old Woodstock’s cause was dealt a huge blow on the stroke of half time when a confrontation between Andrew and Shaw led to the Old Woodstock midfielder seeing red for inexplicably headbutting the United forward sparking a heated exchange amongst the majority of the players. United’s James King was also booked in the aftermath.
United seemed comfortable at the start of the second half but were unable to create any really threatening openings for a long time. In fact it was Old Woodstock who had the first sight of goal when Kieran O’Dweyer tried a shot from 25 yards, but Tokarczyk saved.
United got going and Barnes crossed for Andrew to volley goalwards only for the ball to spin back into Dunmall’s hands.
A defensive error by Sharaj saw his misplaced header land at Danny Roberts’s feet but the forward wasted the opportunity, unnecessarily shooting from long range to make Tokarczyk’s save easy.
Play became end to end as Andrew had a shot deflected over by the lunging Afford, Ludovic Erhard’s shot through a crowded area forced Dunmall into a fine save whilst at the other end, a Danny Roberts free-kick caused hesitation in the United defence and Josh Posey almost nipped in to score but pushed his shot inches wide.
Sharaj had a long shot smartly saved by Dunmall before United sealed victory with a well worked goal. Todd cut inside and picked out Mark Goodman on the right side. His low centre was just missed by Andrew but Barnes was at the far post and he drove the ball into the roof of the net.
Erhard almost added more gloss to the scoreline but Dunmall tipped his lob over the bar at full stretch to cap a fine performance by the Old Woodstock keeper.
Report by Nick Bell.
Website United Man of the Match: Nathan Webb.