Hayes & Yeading United played their part in an entertaining 1-1 draw at Highbury Avenue against promotion chasing Fleetwood Town.
United were missing hat-trick hero from the previous match, Elliott Buchanan and captain, Peter Holmes so Garry Haylock brought Phil Appiah in for a first league start and handed a debut to new striker Jefferson Louis.
After negotiating a dangerous ball across Lee Harrison’s goalmouth which led to nothing in the opening moments, United earned the first corner of the game, and scored from it. Charlie Wassmer challenged the Fleetwood defence at the near post with a header and as the ball fell to the ground, Bradley Pritchard took a wild air shot at it, only to make up for that by reacting quickest and volleying the bouncing ball into the top corner.
Fleetwood almost equalised soon afterwards through an inadvertent backward header towards his own goal by Jamie Hand, but Harrison was alert enough to tip the ball over. Harrison then watched Sean Clancy’s shot fly narrowly wide with seemingly misplaced calm.
Another speculative shot, this time by Anthony Barry was gathered in by Harrison diving low to his left, but United had a golden chance to extend their lead on 27 minutes.
Tom Cadmore’s clearance from defence was challenged for by Junior Brown and Louis on the right wing and the United forward outmuscled the full back before zeroing in on the penalty area. He clipped his shot around the advancing goalkeeper, Scott Davies but the ball rolled agonisingly past the far post.
This served as a wake up call to the home side who really cranked up the pressure without releasing it until half time.
Harrison deflected George Donnelly’s low shot just wide heralding the first of a succession of corners. From one such set-piece, the Fleetwood forward hit a shot which Charlie Wassmer deflected onto the bar. The danger appeared to be over but Clancy chipped the ball back into the danger area and Jamie McGuire powered a header from the penalty spot straight into the back of the net.
They didn’t stop there. Within a minute, Clancy’s goalbound shot was deflected wide by Cadmore. Then Barry sent a corner over to the far post which McGuire headed back across goal for the unmarked Magno Vieira who headed over with the goal at his mercy.
Still only four minutes after their equaliser, Fleetwood piled on immense pressure and they hit the bar again as Steve McNulty was denied by the woodwork with a header from Donnelly’s cross. Another glorious chance to take the lead was squandered before half time as Donnelly skied Gareth Seddon’s low centre from right in front of goal.
United could not have held on for much longer and half time came as a relief. In fact, Fleetwood attempted to regain the momentum at the start of the second half, but Cadmore’s well timed challenge on Vieira as he was about to shoot was all they could muster to begin with.
United sensed the onslaught was over and began to find more of the ball and advance forward. Pritchard got in space on the right wing and sent in a low cross. It ran through to Barry who somewhat muffed his clearance and Ben Wright worked the ball back to Louis who fired over from just outside the area.
Harrison produced a fine save from Vieira’s angled shot when a cross was more widely anticipated and then punched the resulting corner as far as Donnelly who volleyed back, but just over.
Wright then turned Brown inside out before firing low to Davies’s right, but the keeper reacted well and smothered the shot. Soon afterwards, the moment of the half came when Clancy’s low cross was turned goalwards by Donnelly and Harrison produced a remarkable save to block his shot. Vieira’s follow up cannoned off the underside of the cross bar and Wassmer headed clear.
Davies again saved from Wright after a neat Phil Appiah pass created space for the on loan forward on the edge of the area.
Fleetwood’s chances of claiming all three points took a real dent twelve minutes from time. Within a minute of coming onto the pitch as a substitute, Nathan Pond lunged in to a challenge on Andy Yiadom with both feet and Mr Davison the referee had no hesitation in showing him the red card.
However, United were unable to raise any significant advantage from having the extra man on the pitch in the final minutes, although Wright did go close with a free kick which landed onto the roof of the net.
Report by Nick Bell.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Tom Cadmore.