With relegation as good as guaranteed, United travelled to Sincil Bank, the home of Lincoln City, for their final away trip in the Blue Square Bet Premier on Saturday and came away with all three points courtesy of a Piero Mingoia strike on the hour, the downside being the dismissal of skipper Jamie Hand in stoppage time for a reckless challenge.
With Nas Bashir having both regular right-backs on the injury list, Dan Spence was switched to that position with Daniel Wishart coming out of the forward line to again play left-back while Tom Collins came into a starting role on the right side.
With the afternoon's weather a mix of drizzle, driving rain, hailstones and sunshine it was to be a good afternoon for the travelling United fans, many in fancy dress, who came to Sincil Bank for United's Premier Division swansong (for now). Hayes & Yeading started the game well, creating two openings in the first ten minutes. Luke Williams played Piero Mingoia down the left side of the penalty area, he chipped the ball across the face of Joe Anyon's goal from the bye-line but could not pick out a blue shirt and the ball went away. Less than a minute later the same pair combined again, this time Mingoia hit a skidding shot from 20 yards that went wide of the upright.
On 15 minutes United were grateful to a well placed Daniel Wishart as
a quick corner from the left was fed to Danny Lloyd on the edge of the box, his initial shot deflected to Jefferson Louis who placed his shot past Steve Arnold only for Wishart to clear it off the line having remained on guard at the far post.
Six minutes later the Imps really should have taken the lead. The impressive Lloyd found his skipper John Nutter in an advanced area on the left, his low centre picking out Peter Bore at the far post and he contrived to hit the side netting from about four yards with the goal gaping.
A 24th minute injury to Luke Williams, which looks like it will end his season, saw an early third appearance for youth team prospect Aristede Bassele on the right wing.
Just after the half hour mark it was United's turn to miss a gilt edged chance. Tom Collins weaved his way past defenders into the Lincoln box, when a shot looked on he actually squared the ball to an unmarked Phil Walsh six yards out, unfortunately his back was to goal and as he turned to get his shot away he could not get enough angle and the effort went wide.
Two minutes later Arnold's boot came to the rescue for United as Lloyd sent Louis away, he turned Tom Cadmore and got his shot away but the United stopper was equal to it as his outstretched boot sent the ball away for a corner that was to come to nothing.
Last chance of the half fell to an advanced running Wishart who with conditions favourable to shooting tried his luck from 30 yards, his shot forcing Anyon to palm it away at the foot of his right-hand post.
United started the second half quickly and within a minute Collins had set up a chance for Mingoia but his shot was wide of the target. Minutes later Bassele did well to poach the ball from Paul Robson on the left, advancing into the area but with just Anyon to beat he tried to pick out the on-coming Collins only for defender Josh Gowling to intercept.
Just a minute later Lincoln pushed forwards at pace with Nialle Rodney finding Bore on the right of the United box, the Imps man being denied by Cadmore who slid in to block away his shot from just inside the United box.
Then on the hour mark the deadline was broken. Collins raced away down the right side, turned past Nutter before picking out Mingoia who had arrived in the area at pace, the Watford man controlling the ball before quickly placing it past Anyon to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Just past the midway point in the half Lincoln were again threatening, Alan Power found substitute Conner Robinson, he turned past Wishart who recovered well to put the Imps striker off and he poke his effort wide of the post.
With just eleven minutes remaining the home side were denied by a fine Arnold save, a long punt upfield was brought under control by Robinson, he cut inside Dan Spence but with just Arnold to beat the United keeper stood firmly in his path and saved well at close quarters.
Into stoppage time the game went, Arnold comfortably caught a Gowling header after Mark Bentley had
headed a Power corner out as far as the Imps defender and then in the fifth minute of time added on, a needless challenge on Robinson in the centre circle by Jamie Hand saw his season ended with a straight red card, the first time referee Harrington had needed to go to his pocket all afternoon.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos courtesy of
Andrew Vaughan / Chris Vaughan
at Lincoln City FC.
United Man of the Match: Daniel Wishart.