Costly errors at the back took the shine off of an excellent Elliott Buchanan hat-trick as Hayes & Yeading United let a three goal lead slip against Rushden & Diamonds at Church Road on Tuesday evening.
Manager Garry Haylock made just a single change to the side that beat Tamworth last time out as Lewis Ferrell replaced Nathan Webb, who limped off against the Lambs, at right-back.
United started the game in positive fashion and in just the third minute Elliott Buchanan broke away on the left and sent over a deep cross that skipper Peter Holmes did well to knock down to Bradley Pritchard, the midfielder’s shot being deflected wide by a challenge from Alan Power.
Two minutes later United broke the deadlock as Jamie Hand sent a pass into Buchanan’s run and the in-form striker took a touch before firing past Diamonds keeper Joe Day into the bottom corner.
Within a minute it could easily have been all square again as a right wing cross picked out Michael Gash who was denied by a well timed Holmes block.
For the next 30 minutes the ball switched regularly from end to end without cause for alarm in either area, the closest being a Power shot from outside the box that went well wide of Lee Harrison’s goal.
Minutes later United had a golden chance to double the lead when a Hand chip over the defence fell to Wright, who appeared well offside, but with no flag raised and just Day to beat, the striker fired into the keeper’s arms.
The second for United was however only five minutes away. Holmes blocked a clearance on the edge of the Rushden area and Wright latched onto the loose ball, Day got a touch on the ball as he tried to move around his dive but the United striker was quick to react and he picked out Buchanan in the centre. Buchanan’s initial effort was tipped onto the post by a diving Day but again it was United first to the loose ball and this time Buchanan made no mistake from an acute angle (left) despite a last ditch effort to clear on the line.
In a reversal of the opening to the game, it was the visitors who were quickest out of the blocks in the second half. Harrison fielded a Luke Prosser header before a long ball from defence by Ollie Thorne found Diamonds skipper Aaron O’Connor with just Harrison to beat. The United stopper came out to meet his foe and with a well timed tackle sent the ball wide and Adam Bygrave cleared the danger.
Harrison was soon in action again catching a Gash header from Ryan Charles’ cross before a swift move to the opposite end saw Holmes centre low from the left and Buchanan nipped in to touch home his third of the evening.
The last thirty minutes seemed to be played pretty much in United’s half and this was to prove costly by the final whistle although it could have been so different had Wright’s centre had a little less power as the ball shot past an unmarked Buchanan at the far post just after the visitors had pulled one back.
Prosser met a Jamie Day corner at the near post but his flick went across the face and just wide of the far post and then in the 68th minute the visitors pulled one back when Curtis Osano sent Gash away in the right channel, his centre saw substitute Sam Smith get in front of Tom Cadmore to strike the ball past Harrison from six yards.
Ten minutes later the deficit was down to a single strike when a failure to clear by both Charlie Wassmer and Adam Green allowed Gash to nick the ball before cutting it back to an unmarked Smith who fired home from 15 yards.
This time it was only eight minutes that passed before the ball was in the United net once again as Harrison lost his grip on a Jamie Day corner and the ball fell nicely to Prosser at the far post and he slammed it into the United net to being his side level.
Despite 5 additional minutes being played, not a whole lot of goalmouth action occurred and the closest anyone came to netting a winner was when Green hit a 20 yard shot deep into stoppage time that swerved away wide of the far post and United had to settle for a single point when three were badly needed.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Elliott Buchanan.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video here.