The spectators at The Beveree Stadium on Monday evening were treated to a fantastic football match which was lit up by seven goals, some of which were of really high quality.
The entertainment came immediately after the kick off as Hampton went on a forceful attack, but Hayes & Yeading broke that down and with a swift counter attacking passing move involving Daniel Wishart and Dean Worman, Leo Cunningham applied a firm finish from outside the area into the bottom corner for the opening goal, timed at 54 just seconds.
Another flowing move involving Wishart allowed Joakim Ehui the space to shoot but he put his shot just wide of the far post. Wishart was involved again soon afterwards when he laid the ball off to Joel Jacobs whose cross was headed wide by Cunningham from a promising position.
United were overrunning their hosts at this point. Wishart dispossessed Ellis Mellon but Harry Copeland tipped his shot over the bar. Then from Mark Goodman’s resulting corner, James Taylor’s clearance was blocked by Worman but the loose ball didn’t get past Josh Hill on the goal line.
Alex Tokarczyk’s first involvement in the game came via classy midfielder Jemal Wojtczak whose pass to Tom Kanek set up Hampton’s first shot on goal, which the United keeper managed to hold onto.
However, Hampton had their equaliser in the 13th minute when Taylor’s cross was bundled in at the back post by Ollie Perkins.
The pace was unrelenting in a pulsating first half. Kanek and Wojtczak exchanged passes before setting up Ray Knight whose 25 yard shot dipped just too late and cleared the crossbar. Then Isaac Bonket got an important clearing header in after Jamie Pearson had beaten Mitchell Dunstall and sent a shot goalwards.
United went back on the offensive as Wishart turned Mellon again before shooting straight at Copeland. Then he sent a corner over which Ehui headed just wide of the far post.
United retook the lead on 39 minutes. With a mazy run, Worman beat both Taylor Nunn and Billy Witham before slamming a 25 yard shot into the roof of the net past a beleaguered Copeland. Copeland landed awkwardly in his attempt to keep the ball out and unfortunately had to be substituted.
Reece Fleary hit a long shot to test replacement keeper Joe White but he held on to it well as he did with Cunningham’s shot soon afterwards from Goodman’s bye-line cut back. Wishart latched onto Nathan Webb’s pass in stoppage time but fired inches over the bar from long range, but out of the blue, deeper into stoppage time, the home side equalised when Pearson was afforded a lot of time on the left hand side and his low cross was converted by the onrushing Wojtczak.
Still the fireworks weren’t over as United went straight up the other end to take a 3-2 lead. Worman passed to Wishart who turned Mellon before firing a low shot into the bottom right corner past White.
The second half was less eventful, but still captivating. Hampton enjoyed more possession and Perkins got through on goal on 53 minutes but shot straight at Tokarczyk. Six minutes later they were level when Pearson squared the ball to Perkins who curled his shot inside the far post using the United defence to block Tokarczyk’s view.
Pearson almost gave the home side the lead for the first time when he collected Nunn’s pass but he fired it just the wrong side of the post.
United rallied and substitute Jack Todd was found by Worman, his cross was dangerous but Wishart missed it and Goodman hadn’t quite anticipated this, miss-hitting his shot straight at White.
Out of the blue, United took the lead for a fourth time. Todd again was involved, finding substitute Richard Amefa and from well outside the box, Amefa powered his unstoppable shot right into the top corner for a stunning winner.
Hampton had their chances to equalise afterwards through Pearson and Perkins, but their shots were weak and off target. Meanwhile, White gathered in Wishart’s goalbound long shot and Dunstall tried his luck from long range in stoppage time, but the score was to remain 4-3 at the end of a thrilling encounter.
Report by Nick Bell. Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Nathan Webb.