A fine display of finishing in the first half saw Hayes & Yeading United’s reserves to victory at Stag Meadow despite a gutsy fight back by Windsor & Eton.
United overran their hosts in the first half and were rewarded with four well taken goals. Daniel Mehmet had already seen his early goal bound shot deflected wide and he was just off target when he latched onto Jack Pattison’s forward header, before Mark Doyle opened the scoring. Josh Andrew beat his marker Dominic Rhone on the right hand side and put a low centre across and although Doyle stumbled at first, he was able to pick himself up and fire a low shot past Mark Bantrey.
A minute later, a dangerous cross by Rob Gradwell caused mayhem in the Royalists’ goalmouth with Mehmet and Daniel Ike both denied by blocks from Bantrey.
Windsor & Eton replied with a long range Gary Ashton shot which Chris Baker comfortably fielded and after Bantrey held onto a Doyle header, Rhone curled in a free kick which found Taylor Hunt’s head, but he was off target from a good position.
It was 2-0 in the 18th minute. Gradwell’s through ball put Andrew clear and his low centre picked out Doyle whose second goal was a more majestic finish than the first, rising into the top corner.
Baker had another comfortable save to make this time from Ben Brown before Alex Duffy found Andrew with a long pass and the young winger’s shot was deflected wide by Matt Mooney. Windsor went back on the attack with Adam Wallace capitalising on a slip by Lukas Stiklakis who recovered well to block the Windsor forward’s shot.
In the final ten minutes of the half, United put the game out of Windsor’s reach. Doyle completed his hat-trick when he latched onto Yves Ndengue’s pass and cut back in from the left before firing the ball just inside the far post. Then minutes later, a delightful pass from Mehmet put Gradwell through and although Bantrey blocked his first shot, he had no answer to the follow up.
A very similar chance fell to Gradwell just before half time, but Bantrey this time managed to produce a double save to deny him another goal.
After half time, a curious mist covered most of the pitch and visibility was poor in the Windsor half. However, the home side attacked in the clear air and took advantage of confusion between Ike and Pattison to break away and score. Ashton dispossessed the United players as they got in each other’s way and passed to Wallace who cut inside before curling a delightful shot in off the far post.
Moments later the same player almost scored again as he headed wide following a fine flowing move involving Copie Sumner and Steve Park.
The patchy mist got increasingly worse although Bantrey was able to see clearly enough to make another double save. Pattison set up Doyle whose shot was blocked by the home keeper, who also got up to deny Mehmet.
In the 64th minute, Windsor had another goal back. Lewis Fogartey passed to Matt Clarke whose lay off was converted emphatically by Wallace into the top corner.
Windsor sensed an unlikely comeback and Fogartey went close with a header from Rhone’s free kick soon afterwards, but the ball drifted across the face of the goal.
Back into the mist, United had a remarkable sequence of shots which somehow stayed out of the goal. Baker’s long clearance was flicked on by Gradwell and Doyle wrestled possession from Aaron Morton before firing in a shot which Bantrey pushed away. Paul Seokim Yoo retrieved the loose ball and fired inches over the bar. Then Bantrey punched Mehmet’s corner clear straight back to the taker. Mehmet cut along the by line before picking out Andrew whose shot was saved by Bantrey.
United continued pressurising the home side’s goal with Pattison’s free kick being somehow diverted away from goal unconventionally by Bantrey. Then from the corner, Mehmet found Doyle at the near post and his header was inches wide.
Windsor regained momentum with more impressive approach play, substitutes Joe Richards and Fogartey combining to pick out Ashton on the right hand side. His first shot was blocked by Stiklakis and his second was well held by Baker.
In stoppage time, Baker again held onto a rising shot, this time from Richards and Windsor ran out of time to make any more inroads into United’s lead.
Report by Nick Bell. Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Mark Doyle.