A two minute two goal blast just after half time sent Harefield United through to the Middlesex Youth Cup Final at the expense of Hayes & Yeading United, ending the visitors’ chances of claiming the trophy for the third year in a row.
The game was, in truth, very disappointing as a spectacle, only to be lit up by Harefield’s quick-fire double from Ryan Dilworth and Shane Ely, Dilworth reacting first after Luke Daley had spilled a long shot from Lee Clarke and Ely tapping in from close range after Clarke had beaten Williams Ude and cut the ball back from the by line.
Hayes & Yeading’s substitute Umar Mansaray hit a consolation in stoppage time, thanks mainly to the determination of Nicke Kabamba finishing after Ben Goode had half blocked Kabamba’s goalbound shot.
The first half was virtually bereft of goalmouth incident as neither side showed enough guile to break down some resolute defending, although Harefield were the ones to do most of the probing. Clarke forced a low save from Daley following Ely’s cutback and then headed the ball towards goal, but giving Daley a simple catch. In the meantime, Callum Chickah had the visitors’ best chance, latching onto Ude’s long pass out of defence and beating Liam Cunningham before putting his shot well wide.
Daley produced a great save from Dilworth, tipping over his fierce rising shot just after half time. However, within five minutes, the hosts grabbed their two goal lead and although United upped the tempo afterwards, there was a degree of comfort in the way in which Harefield saw out time.
It might have been different if George Isaac had not miscued from a good position with a lot of the goal to aim at following good work from Leo Cunningham and Connor Cumber, and if Goode hadn’t shown excellent reactions to produce a double save from point blank range to twice deny Connor Cumber, first from a shot and then from a header.
And when Chickah cut inside but sliced his shot across the face of goal, it seemed that Harefield had got over the worst, and in fact they would have extended their lead had it not been for a string of fine saves from Daley in the closing stages as the visitors pushed forward and left gaps behind them in defence.
Hayes & Yeading’s stoppage time goal came so late that it never caused any real alarm to the home side and they were able to celebrate qualification to the final soon afterwards.
Report by Nick Bell. Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Bobby Cumber.