Despite ending the game with only nine men, Hayes & Yeading United managed to hold onto a draw with Chester City to end a run of four defeats.
United manager Garry Haylock two changes from his last line up, both enforced with Esmond James replacing the suspended Danny Allen-Page on the right and Marc Canham coming in for the injured Justin Cochrane in midfield.
Chester had the strong wind behind them in the first half, but United restricted them to just a few half chances early on, Tom Cadmore blocking Adam Kay's low shot and Simon Overland tipping Anthony Barry's volley onto the post, both moves orchestrated by Glen Rule on the right hand side. Barry hit the wordwork again in the 28th minute when he was teed up by a Kay lay off and he struck a long shot which clipped the bar on its way over.
A minute later, Hayes & Yeading had a great chance to open the scoring. Kevin Roberts tripped Scott Fitzgerald as the forward moved across him and referee Matthew McLoughlin had no option but to give the penalty. However, Sean Canham couldn't score his third penalty in successive games, lifting his shot too high.
The on loan striker had a chance to make amends following good work on the right from James Mulley and Ram Marwa but he also lifted the Norwegian midfielder's low centre over the crossbar.
Minutes later, Mr McLoughlin reduced United to ten men when he punished Ram Marwa for a retaliation to a Clark Keltie challenge with a straight red card. Despite this setback, it was the home side who went closest in the closing stages of the half, Sean Canham chipping John Danby from Tom Cadmore's clever free kick, but once again, his shot just cleared the cross bar.
The second half was once again rather spoiled by the blustery conditions with the wind now blowing in Hayes & Yeading United's favour. Rule's cross found Nick Chadwick unmarked but the forward was way off target with his header. Neither side seemed comfortable on the ball for quite some time before Mulley tried his luck from long range after Kristian Platt had half cleared Esmond James's low centre.
Overland comfortably caught Michael Lea's header as Chester struggled to trouble United's goal despite their man advantage. However, their task was made easier when Fitzgerald slid in late on Neil Ashton and joined Marwa off the pitch thanks to pickign up his second booking.
With a two man disadvantage, many would have forgiven United to sit back, but they went close to going ahead twice in quick succession shortly afterwards. Sean Canham laid the ball off to Adam Green and the full back sent a dangerous ball into the box. Ashton chested the ball back but his keeper, Danby, had to stretch to prevent the ball from bouncing into the bottom corner. Then, from Dale Binns's resulting corner, Cadmore got up at the far post and hit the outside of the post with his header.
It wasn't until the closing stages when Chester began to put any decent pressure on the United goal, and it so nearly paid off. Substitute Ben Wilkinson's cross was headed across goal by Chadwick and when Sami El-Abd's clearance was charged down, the ball span perfectly into Ashton's run up. His blast towards goal went through a crowd scene in front of the United goal but Cadmore's leg saved a certain goal right on the line.
Wilkinson again crossed for Chadwick whose header hit the post before Mulley could bring the ball away to safety. Then in stoppage time, both Ashton and Wilkinson had goalbound shots bravely blocked, by Green and Overland respectively, which preserved a hard earned point for United's outnumbered team.
Report by Nick Bell. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video
United Man of the Match: Tom Cadmore.