Two second half goals edged York City past Hayes & Yeading United leaving Nas Bashir’s men looking to pick up points elsewhere in their battle against relegation.
Promotion chasing York overcame the frustration of being held at bay by United to find two openings in an otherwise resolute defence for the away team.
The beginning of the game was rather stop start as neither side were able to retain possession easily and a few injuries delayed proceedings but Julian Owusu did have a snap shot at York’s goal which flew high and wide.
United began to enjoy the majority of the ball after a while and Owusu knocked the ball down for strike partner Michael Thalassitis to volley from long range, but although his shot was well hit, Michael Ingham comfortably held onto the ball.
A Yassin Moutaouakil throw-in found Luke Williams soon afterwards and his long looping cross was headed just wide by Mark Bentley at the far post.
It wasn’t until half an hour in when York had their first meaningful effort on United’s goal as Jason Walker seized upon a hurried Phil Walsh clearance to shoot goalwards, but Moutaouakil was handily placed to block its path. Minutes later, Lanre Oyebanjo crossed and although Tom Cadmore mistimed his clearance, Ashley Chambers wasn’t able to capitalise and the ball rolled to safety.
For the first time, the game really opened up. Jamie Hand’s searching pass found Moutaouakil in space on the right flank and his driven cross directly hit the near post. Then York raced down the other end and Matty Blair cut in from the right flank before crossing to the far post. No-one was there but a deflection off Dan Spence looped the ball dangerously close to goal. Chambers then fired across goal after an errant Walsh header and before half time, Blair inadvertently redirected Jon Challinor’s long shot past Steve Arnold’s post.
After the first half ended with the busiest period of the game, it was hoped that the second half would follow suit, but once again, there was rather a disjointed spell of play to begin with. During this time, a long Arnold free kick was knocked down by Thalassitis into Williams’ path but the United player could only volley straight at Ingham.
It was out of the blue that York opened the scoring in the 57th minute. Some forceful running down the left by Patrick McLaughlin looked fairly dangerous but then his superb outswinging cross was met with a devastating half volley by right back Oyebanjo who had arrived in the penalty area late and unnoticed.
This relieved a growing tension around the ground after United had successfully silenced the home support with their dogged resistance and threatening counter attacks. But following Oyebanjo’s goal, York were able to relax more on the ball and tempt United’s players out of defence to search for an equaliser.
Arnold made two comfortable saves in quick succession, one from Walker following Chambers’ pass and the other from Challinor following a mazy run. However, there was no further threat to Arnold’s goal until the very end, and despite Nas Bashir trying several attacking options from the bench, including awarding a debut to Charlton loanee Freddie Warren, United were unable to make headway towards finding an equaliser. Fellow substitutes Tom Collins and Daniel Wishart both had shots charged down but the home defence stood firm.
Deep into stoppage time, Spence was rather unfortunately sent off when he appeared to pull out of trying to block Challinor’s clearance but the midfielder went down anyway and to the surprise of many, including the home fans, referee Mr Stockbridge decided to book him for a second time. This took the shine off a fine performance from the full back who recently returned from a long term injury. Seconds later, Mr Stockbridge frustrated the away dugout again when Walker went down over Arnold’s challenge and a penalty was awarded, an opportunity that he converted himself.
Report by Nick Bell.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Dan Spence.