A serious injury to Gateshead's Martin Brittain sixteen minutes from time brought this game to a standstill for more than half an hour while the player was treated by both physios, the Gateshead team doctor and then the Ambulance Service. With referee Madley taking the players from the field sometime earlier, those that had travelled a long way with United were all set for a re-start when the unbelievable announcement came that the game was to be abandoned. The reason for the premature end now appears to be that Gateshead's players refused to return to the pitch leaving Mr Madley with no choice but to abandon the game, the decision now lies with the Conference League and FA as to what should happen next with this fixture.
In the meantime here's what had transpired up to the point of abandonment.
Both side's started
the game parading new centre-forwards, the home side fielding massive French striker Armand One who had just signed from Livingston and United fielding on-loan striker Sean Canham from Notts County.
The home side started quickly and were soon aiming for the head of the 6' 5" One, Martin Brittain fired a third minute cross to the striker but his header was wide of the target and minutes later Brittain was again the provider, this time sending Michael MacKay down the right channel, his shot going across the face of the United goal and wide of the far post.
United's first taste of the Gateshead area saw Dale Binns cross low from the left to Ram Marwa on the edge, the United midfielder ploughed his way between two defenders and the ball appeared to be running to Canham but keeper Jim Provett was quickly out at his feet to smother.
We had reached the midway point in the half when disaster almost struck for James Mulley, One bundled his way past Sami El-Abd and was about to shoot when Mulley took the ball off his foot, in the process lofting it over Simon Overland but thankfully just wide of the United goal.
As the half came to a close United began to dominate the home side. El-Abd played a direct ball from the back that was well controlled by Canham but his left foot shot was comfortably held by Provett. Binns then went close as he got his head to Canham's flick from a Mulley long throw, the ball going agonisingly wide of the upright. Still with United in the driving seat chances came, Scott Fitzgerald played the ball in from the flank to Canham but his finish was weak and then on the stroke of half time a deep Green cross was missed by all in the centre with Danny Allen-Page picked up the ball at the far post, his shot being well held by Provett.
The second hald opened and it was still United in the ascendancy, six minutes had been played when Green stepped up to a free-kick, blasting the ball through the wall only to see Provett make a superb save and the loose ball cannoned off Allen-Page and when wide of the post. A minute later United saw Canham put clean through on the Gateshead goal only to be scythed down on the edge of the box by Christophe Ascherl who was duly shown the red card by referee Madley. Green again tried to drive through the wall, this time it held firm as it did when Fitzgerald tried to fire home the rebound.
With a man advantage United continued to press for the opener, Green's cross was dragged down by Justin Cochrane but Provett was equal to his volley. At the other end Overland was less than busy and just after hour mark an Allen-Page free-kick was only cleared as far as Marwa who tried an overhead kick from 15 yards but Provett caught comfortably at his post.
The 71st minute did bring some work for Overland when Brittain worked space on the left and tried to curl a shot into the far corner but the United custodian gathered the ball easily in the middle of his goal.
Just minutes later disaster was to strike for the impressive Brittain as he challenged Green at the far post to a loose ball, the ball cannoned off the Gateshead man for a goal kick and both players ended up on the floor, Green rose quickly but Brittain we now know sustained a very serious injury and was taken to hospital some 30+ minutes later as described in my opening paragraph.
All the Directors, Management and players of Hayes & Yeading United wish Martin a speedy and full recovery.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Adam Green.