Two freakish goals and a Steve Basham penalty saw Hayes & Yeading to a deserved victory after visitors Gateshead had gone in a goal to the good at half time.
Manager Garry Haylock made two changes to the starting line-up that had thrashed Grays a few days earlier as fit again Craig Watkins and Steve Basham came in for injury victims Danny Allen-Page and Scott Fitzgerald. One change on the bench saw fit again James Mulley replace Toby Little.
United could have scored after 60 seconds and many in the crowd thought we had. Steve Basham earned a free-kick on the left corner of the Gateshead box and Andrejs Štolcers stepped up and curled the ball around the wall and it appeared to go in as the net rippled, sadly it was the side netting as the ball had gone inches wide of the target with keeper Paul Farman rooted to the spot.
United were already beginning to get a grip on the game against a very physical Gateshead side, Craig Watkins just nipped in front of his marker Paul Heckingbottom before toeing the ball to Ram Marwa who tried his luck from the edge of the area going just wide of the upright.
A chance less 20 minute spell was spent mainly in the visitors half before Justin Cochrane opened the scoring with what can only be described as a pure fluke. Watkins, Tom Cadmore and Cochrane neatly exchanged passes on the right before the United midfielder curled a cross into the centre that sailed over Farman's despairing jump and nestled in the far top corner of the Gateshead net.
Minutes later Farman was in action again, Cadmore took the ball from Brian Wake on the edge of the United area before making his way into the Gateshead half where he slid the ball sideways to Štolcers who tried to catch Farman out from 30 yards but the stopper confidently swept the ball up at the foot of his post.
With ten minutes to the break Gateshead finally found some forwards momentum giving notice of what was to come as Wake found the experienced Daryl Clare in space but he hooked his shot over the bar. Just a couple of minutes later the same two were given time to combine once again, this time Wake was put through on goal only to be tripped by Matt Ruby and referee Burt awarded the visitors a penalty. Clare stepped up and sent Masters the wrong way to pull his side level from the spot.
The game was not to stay that way long though as once again United were found wanting at a set piece as Peter Winn's free-kick from the right was glanced past Masters by Clare from ten yards to give his side a somewhat undeserved advantage at the half-time interval.
In a reversal of the first half it was Gateshead who were quickest out of the traps in the second half and their lead could have increased just seconds in. Having earned a corner, the kick was swung to the near post where giant defender James Curtis got his head to the ball under pressure from Matt Ruby but could not direct his effort towards goal.
Sinclair then provided a smart ball to Clare who tried his luck with a chip shot from 20 yards, failing to trouble Masters as the ball sailed wide of the far post.
Garry Haylock then made a change at the front of the midfield as Štolcers was withdrawn in favour of James Mulley and just minutes later this was to be proved a most valuable change. Adam Green found space to cross on the left side, his centre was knocked down to Mulley by Basham and as the United substitute tried to barrel his way through the defence the ball fell to Curtis who whacked it against Mulley's shin and it flew straight into the roof of the net to bring the sides level once more.
Eighteen minutes remained when a long pass from defence to the ever running Gateshead skipper Andy Ferrell saw him break towards the United box before firing the ball low across the six yard box where Cadmore did an excellent defensive job in easing Peter Winn away from the ball and the danger was ended.
Three minutes later Marwa almost repeated his flying header from the same weekend a year previous. Binns and Green again combined well on the left before the latter centred to Marwa who threw himself at the ball but his header was just too high to trouble Farman.
It was not long though before Farman was to be troubled. Watkins picked up the ball on halfway and advanced through the centre before sliding the ball into Binns' run on the left, the United wide man being upended in the area by a reckless tackle from Williams as Mr Burt awarded his second spot kick of the game. Steve Basham duly stepped up and put United back in front with ease.
The remainder of the game was played out with neither keeper having to make any sort of save as defence's ruled which meant United sealed a haul of seven points in eight days in sharp contrast to the four consecutive defeats prior to this week.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video
United Man of the Match: Ram Marwa.