A fine second half performance from Rushden & Diamonds and in particular, winger Lee Tomlin, extended Hayes & Yeading United’s winless start to the season to four games.
The home side edged the first half on chances alone but Hayes & Yeading United seemed to comfortably hold them at bay with a solid defensive display. However, once they got into gear in the second half, they managed to claim all three points.
Cliff Akurang went close first, in the fifth minute, when his overhead kick went just wide of the post after a scramble in front of Simon Overland’s goal. Then from Tomlin’s free kick, Jamie Stuart headed weakly at Overland.
The long ball game was the most effective route for Rushden and from keeper Dale Robert’s hurried clearance under pressure from Scott Fitzgerald, all of a sudden, Aaron O’Connor was bearing down on goal, only for a timely Overland interception to deny him a shot.
Within minutes, both sides had dangerous looking free kicks to trouble the opposing keepers. First Tomlin’s strike had Overland diving to catch the ball. Then, Tom Cadmore’s clever free kick almost caught Roberts out, but he recovered his position to claim the ball.
From another long ball, another half chance came to Rushden as O’Connor latched onto Akurang’s flick on but volleyed the ball straight at Overland. United found it hard to get through Rushden’s defence but were well worth the even scoreline at the break.
Tomlin had the first chance of the second half, collecting Max Porter’s cross field ball before shooting towards the bottom corner, only for Overland to block his effort. Then at the other end, Danny Allen-Page’s free kick was headed back across goal by Cadmore to Dale Binns and although his first shot was charged down, his second, an overhead volley almost lobbed Roberts.
United’s resistance was beginning to frustrate the home fans as Stuart headed Porter’s free kick wide from a good position. However, a moment of brilliance unlocked the United defence in the 63 rd minute. Referee Russell Fletcher played advantage as Ram Marwa fouled Mark Byrne, with the ball running loose to Tomlin who smashed the ball in to the bottom corner from fully 30 yards for an excellent opener.
Now the home side relaxed and if it wasn’t for some superb goalkeeping from Overland and some well drilled defending, Rushden would’ve added more goals to their tally.
Matt Pattison passed to Craig Farrell whose shot was tipped over by Overland. Overland then denied Tomlin in similar fashion. From the resulting corner, Simon Downer headed towards goal but Allen-Page was well positioned on the line to head clear.
A smart move from the home side led to Farrell’s diving header, but Overland stooped to keep it out. Then Nick McNamara beat Overland with a 20 yard drive but Sami El-Abd managed to claw the ball back off the line and into Overland’s grateful arms.
A brilliant acrobatic save was needed from the United custodian to tip the ball onto the bar from Tomlin’s next effort and from the resulting corner, he denied Akurang by diving low to his right to push the ball away.
A rare second half attack for United produced a corner which from which Binns found Cadmore, but the United captain headed over.
Rushden finally got their second goal in the 85th minute when Farrell turned his marker before firing past the exposed Overland. However, United grabbed a late consolation when Binns picked out Justin Cochrane and although his shot was charged down, the ball spun out to Robert Gradwell who finished smartly into the far corner.
Report by Nick Bell. Photos by Ray Peploe.
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