Simon East's new look under 18 side progressed to the 1st qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup on a wet Monday night at Church Road winning by the odd goal in five against a quick and hard working Harrow Borough side.
Hayes & Yeading had a good chance to open the scoring as early as the fifth minute when Callum Chickah headed a Joel Jacobs corner over the bar from close range. Minutes later however the ball was in the United net when Juneck Ekofo played in Troy Raymond, he avoided the sliding tackle of Leo Cunningham before hitting a shot that squirmed under the body of United keeper Luke Daley.
United were straight back on the attack as Cameron Gilmartin won the ball in midfield and found Nicke Kabamba who in turn helped it to Chickah who saw his first time effort blocked by Borough keeper Calvin King who had advanced from his goal.
Borough almost stretched their advantage in the 20th minute when a weak Cunningham back header was intercepted by Peter Morales who tried to loft the ball over the on-coming Daley, the United keeper getting a vital fingertip to the ball and Jacobs was on hand to hack clear.
Hayes & Yeading were back on terms in the 32nd minute as Kabamba slid the ball into the run of Chickah and he span his marker before firing low past King into the Harrow net.
The impressive Jacobs found the head of Cunningham with a free-kick and despite a juggling act from King the ball ended safely in his hands. At the other end another defensive error, this time by Chevy Hart with a weak back pass, saw Daley race from goal to kick clear as Raymond chased the ball down. Just before the break United hit the woodwork as an inswinging Jacobs corner beat all and sundry before coming back into play off the Harrow crossbar.
With the drizzle getting ever heavier, it was United who took the initiative at the start of the second half. King spilled a Jacobs corner to Kabamba but he fired wide from six yards before Jacobs himself took charge and fired a free-kick over the wall and past King from 25 yards to give United a deserved lead on 57 minutes.
Five minutes later hesitancy in the Harrow area almost cost them as Jeffrey Twumasi stole the ball and hit a shot from close range that King did well to push away.
Minutes later a misplaced Jay Middleton pass was picked off by Raymond who advanced into the area and shot across goal only to be denied by a fine clearance by Cunningham in the six yard box. United soon extended the lead and with more than a touch of fortune. Cyrus Longdon-Hughes received a superb cross-field pass from skipper Bobby Cumber and fired a deep cross that sailed over King's head, hit the far post and nestled nicely in the back of the net.
Unfortunately the two goal cushion lasted all of 45 seconds as a long punt by King was inadvertently helped on by Hart to Borough substitute Emile Collins who proceeded to fire in the goal of the game with a perfectly placed shot that beat Daley into the far top corner of the United goal.
Both sides went exceedingly close to finding the net before the final whistle. First chance came out of nothing for the visitors when Stefan Pryce, in the wet conditions, tried his luck from all of 45 yards. What looked like a bog standard catch for Daley caused chaos as he allowed the ball to squirm from his grasp and bounce goalwards, thankfully he showed great presence of mind to dive after the ball and claw it away off the goalline.
Seven minutes remained when the visitors were also forced into a goalline clearance, Middleton's centre being touched past King only for Borough skipper Amari Ellington to be well placed to play the ball off the line at the foot of his post.
A couple of half chances fell to United substitute Conor Cumber before the end but the final whistle finally blew on a United victory that brings a home tie against Thamesmead Town in the next round of this years FA Youth Cup.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Bobby Cumber.