Hayes & Yeading succumbed to two late Bath City goals in a game where they deserved so much more.
Garry Haylock’s side played the better football throughout and dominated possession of the ball but they struggled to find the cutting edge in the final third of the pitch, in contrast the host’s long ball direct style of play.
United started the game showing no ill effects from the heartache of Saturday, they started very brightly with Michael Malcolm firing a shot that Bath keeper Carl Pentney tipped over after just 34 seconds. Adam Green also went close in the 8th minute as the visitors looked to take an early lead.
United looked vulnerable to early long balls and it proved their undoing in the 20th minute as Kaid Mohamed latched onto a long ball and from the edge of the area he smashed the ball into the roof of the net giving full debutant Niki-Lee Bulmer no chance with his unstoppable shot
Garry Haylock’s side set about chasing the equaliser and took control of the game, dominating the rest of the first half. Bradley Pritchard seized onto a Malcolm miss-hit shot and when well placed he fired wide in the 23rd minute.
Two minutes later Jake Hyde shot inches wide from short range after he had turned sharply to make an opening. The visitors attractive flowing football almost paid dividends in the 28th minute when Hyde and Holmes exchanged passes and with just the keeper to beat Holmes blasted over.
United continued to exert pressure and in the last five minutes of the half Andy Yiadom closely followed by a Jamie Hand throughball that put Malcolm clean through to be denied by a fantastic save Carl Pentney stopping what would have been a thoroughly deserved equaliser.
For all United’s hard work they nearly found themselves two behind in the 42nd minute but for a double save to deny Lee Phillips and them a great reaction save to deny Alex Russell by Bulmer. There was still a chance for an equaliser a minute before the break when Pritchard forced a fine full length save from Pentney.
After a first half where United should have been in the lead rather than adrift, the second started quietly and was scrappy with chances at a premium for both sides. Green and Bath’s Russell had the only efforts on either goal in the first ten minutes of the second half before Andy Yiadom had a good chance in the 59th minute but his effort was just too high.
As the half progressed United had more and more possession but lacked the final ball, and too often attractive approach play was let down in the final third of the pitch. Bath were resolute in defence with bodies thrown in front of the ball where required as they offered little by way of an attacking force making changes to bolster their tiring defence.
With frustration setting in and just when it looked as if the game would fade away it sprung back to life. The introduction of Elliott Buchanan for the subdued Peter Holmes gave United more thrust in attack and eight minutes from time an equaliser came. The impressive Nathan Webb, in just his second start, got free down the right and his high deep cross found substitute Ahmed Deen and his powerful shot from short range saw home keeper Pentney get a hand to the ball but he couldn’t take enough power off the it to stop it going into the net.
With just 3 minutes remaining the game turned full circle as the hosts again snatched an undeserved lead. A free-kick from the left following a Green foul found Gethin Jones who, unmarked, powerfully headed home from six yards leaving Bulmer with no chance. To add insult to injury the hosts increased their lead in stoppage time when United were caught on the break and Mohamed slotted a cross from the right past an isolated Bulmer giving Phillips a tap in.
A case of not making possession count cost Garry Haylock’s side against a resolute side and although the better more attractive side this ultimately counted for nothing as the hosts ran out the winners of this six pointer.
Report by Nick Griffith.
United Man of the Match: Nathan Webb.