Two goals in each half saw Hayes & Yeading United to a comfortable three points at Church Road against struggling Grays Athletic who were not helped by the first half stoppage time dismissal of Jordan Wilson for a second yellow card.
Garry Haylock was forced into one change from Saturday’s line-up as Matt Ruby replaced the unavailable Craig Watkins. This led to a minor re-shuffle as Danny Allen-Page was pushed up to midfield while Tom Cadmore moved from the centre to right-back.
United started in lively fashion and with just four minutes played Ram Marwa got his head to a deep Allen-Page centre but could not direct his effort at the target.
Grays briefly threatened minutes later when a Richard Graham pass was neatly dummied by Jordan Wilson, the ball arriving at the feet of Jamie Guy who turned his marker and forced Clark Masters to push his effort wide.
Hayes & Yeading soon resumed control of proceedings though, Scott Fitzgerald charged down an attempted clearance by Wayne Gray before trying to lob keeper Preston Edwards from 40 yards and then minutes later an offside looking Fitzgerald moved onto a Justin Cochrane throughball before sliding the ball past Edwards to open the scoring.
United continued to dominate the ball, Allen-Page skied his shot at the far post after an fine run and cross from Dale Binns and then in the 26th minute Allen-Page turned provider as his free-kick was met at the far post by Matt Ruby who guided his header across Edwards and into the far corner.
A brief spell of pressure from the visitors saw Wilson feed the ball to Gray who with his back to goal neatly set up Guy but his drive from the edge of the area was wide of the target. This was quickly followed by a shot from distance by Graham, again Masters was not troubled.
Fitzgerald almost had a second just before the break as Adam Green and Binns combined on the left to create an opening that saw United’s top scorer beat Edwards only to see his shot come back off the face of the post.
As the game entered first half stoppage time United’s cause was helped when Wilson tackled Cochrane heavily and referee Amphlett produced a second yellow card for the Grays man and dismissed him from the field.
United had two more chances before the whistle blew on the half, Štolcers and Allen-Page both forcing saves from Edwards with shots from 20 yards.
Fitzgerald was replaced at half-time by 17 year old Daniel Wishart and it took the youngster just nine minutes to play creator as he received the ball on the edge of the Grays area and played it to Allen-Page who fired a crisp drive across Edwards to make it 3-0.
Graham picked up an inadvertent Ed Harris flick and tried to lob Masters but was well off target before United netted a fourth on the hour. Cochrane played a ball down the left that Binns chested into his stride before crossing to the far post where Allen-Page arrived to fire home his second of the game.
Grays should have reduced the deficit on 69 minutes, Graham crossed from the right side, Masters could only get his fingertips to the cross and it fell nicely to Alex Rhodes who contrived to hit the outside of the post with the goal gaping.
Masters was called into action five minutes later as Rhodes fed Guy, his shot being pushed away by the diving Masters who got both hands to the striker’s driven effort.
Two late chance came United’s way, both falling to Wishart. First he rose to a Štolcers corner but headed wide and then having played the ball wide to Binns he met the winger’s centre with a powerful header that somehow came out off the underside of the crossbar.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video
United Man of the Match: Dale Binns.