Paul Hughes’ Hayes & Yeading United reserve team bounced back from the disappointment of their semi final defeat on Monday by returning to winning ways in the league at Arlesey Town.
Hughes handed debuts to left sided midfielder Grant Ludford and striker Tommy Amos and although they were to go on to impress, it was Arlesey who started the game in the ascendency.
In fact, the first opening came when Ludford miss-hit a clearance and Ryan Coulley was able to shoot, only Chris Baker was able to save.
Then from Coulley’s pass, Glen Garner got behind the United defence but his angled shot was pushed wide by Baker.
United got into the game and Joe Gritt hit a long throughball to Chris Clark. His cut back was controlled by Amos and it took a fine save from Kwame Fordah to keep his rising shot out.
From the resulting corner, Toby Little put the ball perfectly in the path of Charlie Wassmer who powered his header into the net.
United carved open the defence seven minutes later to score a second goal when David Pitt’s clever reverse pass put Amos through on goal and he finished the move confidently with a low shot.
United were dominant for long periods thereafter. Little put Pitt clear on the left and almost got on the end of the forward’s low centre across the six yard box. Then Dean Wallace and Pitt showed neat footwork to tee up Little whose volley was tipped over by Fordah. Little again orchestrated a move by finding Amos on the right and after he cut inside he shot at goal. Fordah did well to parry the ball and even better to hold onto Little’s follow up.
After the break, Arlesey were again first out of the blocks as Jordan Dineen found Garner in space, but he shot straight at Baker.
United soon got back in their stride as Amos put Little through on goal, his lob drifting just the wrong side of the near post.
This sparked a spell of end to end attacking. Clark’s header from Little’s corner created quite a scramble in the Arlesey goalmouth before Ben Prictor cleared off the line. Then his header was acrobatically tipped wide by Fordah.
Play switched to the other end and Garner fired just wide from a good position after a good interchange of passes between Coulley and Joe Reynolds. Dineen then found Josh Cook whose shot was comfortably gathered in by Baker. As United broke again, Gritt carried the ball out of defence before shooting from long range, Fordah diving low to his right to keep the ball out.
As time passed, United assumed control again. Ludford and Little combined on the left and Amos was unlucky in front of goal as his shot appeared to deflect over thanks to Millett’s challenge although the referee awarded a goal kick.
It wasn’t to matter however, as just a minute later, substitute Josh Andrew was to score a terrific goal, completing a one two with Little thanks to a clever backheel before lashing the ball into the roof of the net.
Minutes later, Amos nipped in front of Fordah to tap in Ludford’s low cross after Alex Duffy’s fine control and pinpoint long range pass had snuffed out an Arlesey attack.
Then the forward was picked out by Gritt’s long pass and got through on goal and just before he could get a shot away, he was fouled by Lewis Holmes. He picked himself up to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
United lost inspirational captain Charlie Wassmer to injury soon afterwards, leaving them down to ten men for the closing stages, and Arlesey took advantage by getting a consolation goal, Darryl Elliott turning Jack Pattison before curling his shot beyond Baker. However, United finished on a high with another sweet strike from Andrew after more impressive approach play involving Little and Ludford.
Ludford almost got a goal himself just before the final whistle but his shot from the edge of the area dipped just too late.
Report by Nick Bell.
United Man of the Match: Charlie Wassmer.