A stoppage time goal for Hayes & Yeading United at the end of each half was not enough to take any points from the visit of York City who proved why they are serious contenders to take Crawley's crown come April 2012.
The visiting Minstermen were quickly out of the blocks at Kingfield and in just the second minute a neat back-heel by Jason Walker fell nicely to Andre Boucard, his shot from the edge of the box being held by Steve Arnold in the United goal.
Nine minutes in it was United who created a good scoring chance when Ryan Crockford swung the ball left to Louie Soares who cut inside onto his right foot and sent in a cross
that Richard Pacquette tried to angle back across York keeper Michael Ingham, sadly it went wide of the post.
York were soon back on the front foot though. A quickly taken free-kick was played in to Walker and despite being driven wide he tried for the far corner, seeing his effort creep agonisingly wide of the far post. Boucard's chipped pass to Ashley Chambers saw Arnold race from his area to head clear before a Curtis Ujah tackle on James Meredith 25 yards out was penalised with a free-kick and a caution. Walker stepped up and curled his effort up and over the wall leaving Arnold stranded to give the Minstermen the lead.
Just five minutes later United were stunned by a second York goal. Scott Kerr played the ball towards Jon Challinor on the right side, he advanced towards the area and hit a low drive that went past Arnold's fingers and just inside the far post.
The final fifteen minutes of the half saw United start to muster some promising moves of their own. Soares pulled down a pass from defence, turned swiftly past Challinor but found Ingham well placed to gather his 18 yard effort. Five minutes remained in the half when Hector Mackie had a shot from distance blocked by Jamal Fyfield, the loose ball was picked up by Luke Williams who fed Soares. The United top scorer tried to curl a shot into the far corner which forced Ingham to push the ball away diving to his left and when Pacquette collected and sent in a further cross, Mark Bentley was just off target with his header.
With the game now in first half stoppage time, United were awarded a free-kick 30 yards from goal on the right side. Crockford played the ball in to the penalty spot whereby Kerr sliced the ball just wide of his own goal. The resultant corner kick was played deep to Tom Cadmore who headed the ball back to Soares who glanced it past Ingham (pictured right) to give United hope of a comeback.
Nas Bashir added extra fire power after the break with Tom Collins joining Pacquette up front in place of Mackie. It however the visitors who nearly made an instant impact as just 50 seconds into the half Matty Blair pulled the ball back to Boucard whose first time drive was held by Arnold.
Minutes later a couple of inches spared the blushes of York skipper Chris Smith as Williams found Cadmore in an unusually advanced position in the York box, his low cross being toed along the line and beyond the far post by Smith.
Just before the hour mark Arnold was again called into action as he grasped a fierce Patrick Mclaughlin shot at the second attempt as the ball looked like it was going to bounce over his dive. McLaughlin was not to be totally denied though as he found the net just three minutes later, picking his spot in the bottom corner after good approach play from Adriano Moke and Chambers.
Three soon turned to four for York as Moke left Fraser Franks in his wake on the left before pulling the ball back perfectly to Chambers who had the simplest task of planting his close range shot past Arnold.
Credit goes to United though as despite the game being virtually over at 1-4, they never let their heads drop. Soares had a run and shot from 18 yards held by Ingham and then seconds later Williams went closer as his shot from just outside the box clipped the outside of the upright and went wide.
As we entered the three minutes of stoppage time, Arnold made the best save of the game, acrobatically tipping over a Blair shot after he had collected a Moke cross.
Last plaudits went to the home side though as a second goal came their way. Collins laying off the ball to Williams who hit a low shot that beat Ingham and nestled just inside the far post, a goal that kept United out of the relegation zone on goals scored, if nothing else.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Tom Cadmore.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video here.
Managers post match thoughts here.