Hayes & Yeading United progressed to the semi-final stage of the Lucas Fettes Youth Cup, but needed extra time to defeat a very good Croydon Athletic side who like United play an excellent passing game.
The visitors started well and were soon trying to make inroads into the United defence. In fact with the first real chance of the game they took the lead when the ball was played forwards to Benjamin Agbeto and in one movement he turned his marker and placed a perfect shot into the corner of the United net giving Alex Tokarczyk little chance.
United’s best offering had been a Dean Worman shot that missed the target when the visitors almost scored again. Agbeto found Elijah Ogunbeye on the right, he cut inside past Joel Jacobs and was only denied by a last ditch Isaac Bonket tackle that took the ball wide of the goal. The resultant corner also caused problems as it picked out Jamie Beveridge at the far post, his volley bounced up onto the head of Agbeto but he headed over from 6 yards.
Tokarczyk was then well placed to grab a Zak Henry header before United found their feet and finished the half with a flourish. Worman slid a pass into Mark Goodman’s run, his shot was pushed out by Croydon keeper Charlie Jackson who was up quickly to block the follow up from Josh Christopher.
The United equaliser came two minutes from the break as skipper Nathan Webb held off two defenders on the edge of the area before making space and firing a shot into the top corner giving Jackson no chance.
Worman was again the creative influence in stoppage time as he set up George Isaac but his curling effort was picked off by Jackson and the half closed all square.
United started the second half in the ascendancy with Isaac testing Jackson early on after good work by Joakim Ehui on the left. Midway through the half the visitors were saved by the crossbar when Isaac flicked a Christopher free-kick over Jackson only to see it come back into play before being scrambled clear. Joel Jacobs and Isaac then combined to create an opening for Goodman but he headed wide at full stretch.
Croydon threatened again on 71 minutes when the ever dangerous Agbeto was again given time to turn on the edge of the box, this time Tokarczyk was equal to his shot with a good diving stop.
Minutes later a defensive mistake by Croydon let in Christopher but his well struck low drive was well handled by Jackson.
It was actually the visitors who then came closest to winning in 90 minutes when a long ball from Jamie Thorogood found substitute Kery Kedze but his first time volley was well held by Tokarczyk, and so to extra time we went.
United were to show the greater endeavour in extra time and seven minutes in struck a killer blow when Mitchell Dunstall pounced on a weak clearance from a tiring Hughie Samuels before advancing and firing across Jackson into the bottom corner of the Croydon net.
Samuels almost atoned for his error a few minutes later when he met a Henry cross on the volley but his effort was grabbed by Tokarczyk. Then at the other end another double save by Jackson denied first Isaac and then Ehui while Isaac had two great chances to seal the victory as time ran low but each time failed to hit the target.
Croydon themselves created one last opening in stoppage time that could have taken the game to penalties but Beveridge’s dipping shot cleared the crossbar and United were through to another semi-final.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Nathan Webb.