A first half hat-trick from Jake Lovell settled Hayes & Yeading United’s league match at Oxford City in their favour.
It was a lively encounter throughout with plenty of chances for either side, the majority of which falling for United.
Lovell hit a warning shot across Oxford’s goal on two minutes after collecting Joakim Ehui’s pass and in the sixth minute, he tested Michael Anderson’s reflexes with another low shot after good work by Josh Andrew.
Ashley Barnes showed good improvisation four minutes later when he fired in a twenty yard shot past a blocking defender but to Anderson’s relief, it just missed the angle of post and bar.
Oxford had a good chance when Thomas Holmes threaded the ball through to Sean Harcomb and his long shot was well hit, but straight at Simon Grant in the United goal.
Immediately, play switched to the other end and Ehui’s clever pass to Barnes led to a low centre which Lovell controlled and fired towards goal, only for Anderson to pull off a fine save low to his left, tipping the ball onto the post and away to safety.
Lovell was running amok at this point. He beat Ryan Mullings on the bye line before picking out Daniel Wishart who finished but had his effort somewhat strangely ruled out for offside despite no apparent forward pass being made. Just a minute later Lovell was again on the right wing and his inch perfect cross was headed by Wishart but Anderson pulled off another great save, diving to his right.
Adam Bayliss shot just over for Oxford after a miss hit clearance by James King landed at his feet but it was United who took a deserved lead on 26 minutes. Nathan Webb stepped out of defence before playing a beautifully weighted pass into Lovell’s path, the striker turned his marker and fired the ball into the bottom far corner.
One of the goals of the season lit up the half twelve minutes later. Webb won a tackle deep inside his own half and Abdula Nsubuga took up the loose ball and charged forwards. His inch perfect pass to Ehui on the right wing was met with a delightful cross which Lovell latched onto then fired past Anderson giving the home keeper no chance.
And just before half time, Lovell claimed his hat-trick latching onto Andrew’s square ball before firing a low shot past Anderson.
Three minutes after half time, United went so close to adding to their lead. Webb crossed from the left and Ehui laid the ball off to Wishart who cracked a ferocious shot which bounced back down off the underside of the crossbar.
After that initial scare, Oxford settled to have the better of the second half. Substitute Liam Williams got around Mitchell Dunstall before laying the ball off to Harcomb and his shot beat Grant but not Webb who had shown great anticipation to position himself on the goal line to block.Sam Bishop then collected Harcomb’s pass but his looping volley was easily caught by Grant.
United hit back with Barnes and Andrew combining to set up Nsubuga whose shot was deflected narrowly wide of the post.
Another Bayliss long shot was fielded by Grant before in the 77th minute, Oxford got some reward for their efforts when Aaron Davis floated over a free kick and Ludovic Erhard hesitated with the ball at his feet allowing Kieran Collins to nip in to score.
Andrew almost got an immediate reply when through on goal but Anderson pulled off another fine block.
Hesitation in the United defence between King and Charlie Wassmer allowed Williams to go through on goal in the latter stages but his shot was well smothered by Grant. With that Oxford’s hopes of getting something out of the game faded and United twice could have added to their lead, with Lovell’s point blank header going straight at Anderson and Wishart firing over from Wassmer’s long free kick.
Report by Nick Bell.
Website United Man of the Match: Jake Lovell.