A strong Hayes & Yeading United line up comfortably saw off Staines Town to extend their lead at the top of the Capital League Western Division, with the return of long term injury victim Esmond James being the highlight.
The game started slowly although Pierre Joseph-Dubois tested Shaun Allaway’s handing with a header from Nathan Webb’s cross. Webb orchestrated the next notable move, setting Aaron Couch off behind the home side’s defensive line. The right winger rounded Allaway but with a tight angle, laid the ball off to Joseph-Dubois who contrived to miss an easy chance by rolling the ball wide.
United keeper Simon Grant did well to get down and save James King’s half volley, but the visitors were soon on the attack again when Joseph-Dubois broke clear of the Swans’ offside trap, but found his first shot parried by Allaway and his second from a tight angle hit the side netting.
The French striker was quick to make amends for these misses as he opened the scoring on 35 minutes. Webb and Andy Yiadom exchanged passes on the edge of the penalty area and Joseph-Dubois was found in space, the striker applying a neat finish to the bottom corner.
Staines responded well and equalised just four minutes later, although the goal had a distinctly United flavour to it as former player Toby Little floated a cross field pass to another United ex, Alex Duffy, who turned Anthony Morrison before firing in under Grant.
United responded in kind with another goal of their own soon afterwards. Morrison got down the left flank and sent a low ball into the middle to Joseph-Dubois who laid the ball off to the onrushing Yiadom who fired it into the bottom corner.
Couch went close with a shot across goal after Joel Jacobs’s throughball put him clear, but United did manage to get another before half time and Jacobs was again the architect, finding Joseph-Dubois with a near post corner which he headed firmly into the net.
The second half was less fluent, due mainly to a succession of injuries, including a serious looking one when substitute Venuslav Mirchev collided with the pitchside wall. United substitute Alex Sunasky did have a good chance to extend his team’s lead but his snapshot on the turn from Joseph-Dubois’s clever pass went just the wrong side of the post.
On the hour, United boss Paul Hughes made his second substitution, and it was a most welcome one as Esmond James, who last appeared in a United shirt over a year ago before sustaining a cruciate ligament knee injury, entered the fray.
After some long delays for treatment to Staines goalkeeper Allaway and Mirchev, James’s first contribution reaped full reward as he showed neat footwork to get away from full back Allie Jaward before cutting the ball back for Yiadom to finish.
A few minutes later, United were awarded a penalty after King tripped Joseph-Dubois and this time, both physios were needed to treat their men who both landed awkwardly. James was determined to take the penalty but the long delay didn’t help his cause and he hit his penalty straight at substitute keeper Danny Fisher.
It didn’t affect the scoreline however, as the resultant corner from Jacobs was pinpoint to the leaping Isaac Bonket whose powerful header capped a fine performance in the United defence from the FEDO graduate.
Staines went close twice in the closing stages, Chan Quan firing just wide from the edge of the area and Duffy forcing Grant into a smart reaction save, but the night was so nearly rounded off by James, whose shot flew over the bar after a purposeful run from fellow substitute Daniel Wishart.
Report by Nick Bell. Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Isaac Bonket.