Scott Fitzgerald scored twice as Hayes & Yeading United put in a masterful performance to win in style at Summers Lane against Wingate & Finchley.
United dominated the match from start to finish and in the first half really ought to have been in front by more than just a single goal. Both Kraig Rochester and Fitzgerald were guilty of missing from right in front of goal with headers and it was defender Ross Crawford who had the best effort without scoring when he volleyed just over the bar following a goalmouth scramble caused by Toby Little's dangerous corner. Rochester came closer as his cross drifted against the post but the only goal of the first half came when Abdou El Kholti and Kyle Fraser-Allen combined well on the left before the former put in a low centre. Toby Little touched the ball into the path of Rochester who hit a firm shot past Callum Horton into the bottom corner.
The second half was again one way traffic once Mark Henry's header was watched safely over the bar by United keeper Chris Baker.
Little's quick throw in was worked back into his path via Robert Gradwell and Fitzgerald and his shot was well kept out by Horton. Then Fraser-Allen left three Wingate & Finchley defenders in his wake as he dribbled to the by line before crossing. Horton and Fitzgerald were drawn into an aerial battle and the ball bobbled inches wide as a result.
Most of the goals came within a nine minute spell just after the hour. For all United's intricate passing, it was route one which paid off as Fitzgerald volleyed home Baker's long clearance as it bounced into the opposition penalty area. Then, Rochester was desperately unlucky to see his brilliant volley come back off the post soon afterwards, but his team mates were still able to congratulate him as the ball cannoned in off Horton's back.
Amidst the goals, Gradwell had a header cleared off the line by Harry Hatchwell. The goal of the night was Wingate's only notable effort on target, a 30 yard volley from Max Martin which flew in beyond Baker's dive. A minute later, United restored the three goal advantage as Gradwell headed in Fraser-Allen's deep cross.
Gradwell and Fitzgerald had further chances, before the later finshed the scoring by nodding in El Kholti's far post cross.
Report by Nick Bell. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Website United Man of the Match: Kyle Fraser-Allen.