Hayes & Yeading United claimed their first away point of the current season but will be wondering how a victory slipped from their grasp.
Despite it being a creditable point, after dominating a second half in which Louie Soares scored a fantastic goal to give Nas Bashir’s team the lead, to have it snatched away close to the end will be very disappointing for the team and management.
It was an even first half which started with a frenetic pace before petering out into a midfield battle. In fact, it was just 50 seconds into the match when Steve Arnold was called upon to produce a point blank save after Tadhg Purcell had cut the ball back to James Walshaw in front of goal. United responded minutes later as Luke Williams collected Richard Pacquette’s pass and advanced forward before shooting from outside the area. Sam Russell dived to parry his shot and the loose ball just evaded Pacquette who had by then, got himself into the area.
Arnold denied Walshaw again on 18 minutes when the forward seemed certain to score. Adam Rundle played a low pass in from the right and Greg Taylor’s little clipped pass wrong footed the United defence. Walshaw just had Arnold to beat but although he hit his shot low and hard, the loanee keeper showed great reflexes to get down and block the ball.
This proved to be the home side’s last effort on target until their 88 th minute goal. Meanwhile, Hayes & Yeading almost took the lead on 24 minutes but Pierre Joseph-Dubois, who had turned neatly whilst collecting Diak John’s pass, could only find Russell’s trailing leg with his goalbound shot.
Darlington did get two shots away in quick succession fifteen minutes before half time but both were off target, first from Marc Bridge-Wilkinson who fired wide from Walshaw’s cut back and then from Walshaw himself, who beat Sam Argent before blazing over from a tight angle.
The first half then seemed to lose its way as a show, but it was Hayes & Yeading who were able to entertain after the break with a display of attacking football which seemed to catch the Quakers by surprise. Just two minutes in, Williams’ low centre was fired goalwards by Joseph-Dubois whose shot cannoned off Ben Purkiss seemingly without the centre half really knowing much about it.
Soares and Joseph-Dubois combined again as the French forward dragged his shot across the face of goal having been put through by Soares, who almost got on the end of the wayward shot. United sensed a chance to assert themselves on the game as the home side were pressed into errors by bustling midfield performances by Ryan Crockford, Harrison Bayley and Williams. On 68 minutes, Jamie Chandler was caught in possession and Joseph-Dubois turned smartly in the centre circle before threading the ball through to Soares. The left winger breezed past Paul Arnison as if he wasn’t there and slammed the ball past Russell and into the roof of the net.
Crockford caused a bit of a scare with a free kick from a tight angle which Russell spilled before Darlington finally threatened the United goal again in the 76th minute when Bridge-Wilkinson’s twice taken free kick just cleared the crossbar.
Darlington threw on an extra forward for the closing stages and against the run of play, it did the trick. Michael Brough got out wide and crossed the ball high into the box. Rushing in late was fellow substitute Ryan Bowman whose looping header dipped just under the crossbar well out of Arnold’s reach for the equaliser.
This was a cruel blow for United who clearly deserved all three points, and it almost got worse late on when Chris Atkinson connected with Brough’s cross but not enough to direct it near goal. With a weak Daniel Wishart shot easily collected by Russell, United’s hopes of regaining the victory evaporated as the final whistle sounded.
Report by Nick Bell.
United Man of the Match: Mark Bentley.