Hayes & Yeading United earned a first Blue Square Premier point at Church Road this evening against Stevenage and but for a superb Chris Day save it could have been all three.
Garry Haylock made two changes to Saturday's starting XI as he replaced James Mulley and Marc Canham with debutant Sami El-Abd and Scott Fitzgerald, new loan signing George Daly was to later make his debut from the bench.
It was the FA Trophy holders from Hertfordshire who almost drew first blood when on four minutes a 25 yard free-kick from Andy Drury beat the United wall and the outstretched hand of keeper Simon Overland but thankfully went just wide of the target. United immediately moved play to the opposite end and could easily have netted themselves as Dale Binns ran into the Stevenage area before crossing deep to Fitzgerald, the striker rising highest to meet the ball but could only watch as his header across Day's goal fell agonisingly wide of the far post.
Ten minutes had been played when Day was forced into a point blank save to keep his side level. Fitzgerald spread play wide on the right to Danny Allen-Page, his low near post cross was met smartly by Robert Gradwell only for Day to show good reflexes to palm the ball around the post.
A period of little goalmouth action followed before on the 25 minute mark it took a well timed Matt Ruby block to send a Charlie Griffin effort around the post after good build up work from Mitchell Cole. Eight minutes later the visitors
tried from distance when Michael Bostwick latched onto a Ram Marwa clearance 25 yards from goal but his effort dipped over the crossbar.
After a reasonably even first half, it was first blood to Stevenage just four minutes into the second. Drury picked up a loose ball inside the United half and ran at the United defence beating three tackles before entering the area and beating Overland low into the bottom corner with a perfectly placed shot.
United steadied themselves and after another passage of play that saw little in the way of chances it was time for an equaliser. We were just past the hour mark when excellent control and pace on the left flank from Binns saw him race past Ronnie Henry before firing a low cross that was met inside the six yard box by the on-coming Allen-Page to net United's first goal in Premier Division football and more importantly draw the game level.
Less than ten minutes later it would have been advantage United but for an amazing double save from Borough keeper Chris Day. Justin Cochrane touched a free-kick to Adam Green in the middle of the park, the left-back tried his luck with a skimming shot from 30 yards that Day did well to block, as the ball rose into the air first to arrive was Fitzgerald who looked to head over Day who was on the ground, only for the stopper to jump up and push the header over the bar.
Chances were few and far between in the final ten minutes. Stevenage substitute Stacy Long created a good opening for Lee Boylan but the former Hayes FC man snatched at his shot and fired high and wide and then deep in stoppage time fellow substitute Yemi Odubade hit a shot from just inside the area that only just cleared Overland's crossbar. In between these chances United could also have taken maximum points when a Green free-kick was cleared to Cochrane only for his shot to be deflected wide by Boylan.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video
(no sooner than 48 hours after the game).
United Man of the Match: Dale Binns.