A first half header from triallist Tim Gbadeyan was enough to separate the two sides as Hayes & Yeading United were victorious over a young Hampton & Richmond Borough side.
Although the away team dominated for large periods, there were plenty of opportunities for the home side in a lively encounter. However, United started strongly as Kudus Oyenuga slipped the ball through to Catalin Mererciu whose lay off was pulled across goal by Adrian Dubovecky. Then Josh Ekim put Oyenuga through but keeper Alex Larson was able to dive low to push the shot away.
The same duo combined again soon afterwards as Ekim picked out Oyenuga with a long pass and although this time he rounded Larson, his shot was cleared off the line by Josh Scott. Oyenuga then hit another shot which was deflected by Reece Barnett into Larson’s arms.
United’s breakthrough came in the 27th minute. Dubovecky sent over a deep cross and Gbadeyan arrived with perfect timing to direct a downward header past Larson.
United continued to press. Shannon Jesson and Gbadeyan linked up on the left and the winger beat Scott on the byeline. His cut back to Mererciu took an unfortunate bobble just at the point of impact and the Romanian forward’s shot was skyed. Mererciu was again unlucky when his close range volley was superbly tipped over by Larson after Osei Sankofa’s deep cross was nodded back by Oyenuga. This resulted in a succession of corners, the last of which seeing a clever cutback by Oyenuga to Ekim whose long range effort was fielded by Larson.
The second half was a much more even affair as Hampton & Richmond showed a lot more spirit and determination. However, with Sankofa now moved to centre back to replace Adam Bygrave, the defensive unit were well marshalled and the hosts’ chances were limited. The first effort on goal was United’s and it fell to Mererciu after a neat one two between Dubovecky and Oyenuga created the opening. Again, Larson was equal to the shot.
Jack Smith then tested Brandon Hall’s concentration with a 20 yarder before Isaac Joseph set up Joseph Marcus, who dragged his shot well wide. Shortly afterwards, a Scott free kick looked dangerous but was ably saved by Hall.
United boss Delroy Preddie made some changes and this brought his team back into the game as twice in quick succession, they were denied by last ditch clearances off the line. First, Jesson’s long pass found Brendan Cowell who rounded Larson but Martin Blythe got himself back on the line to clear. Then, Gbadeyan’s cross from the right was headed goalwards by Isaac Osei-Tutu, and looked for all the world like a goal until Jerome Paul got the ball away off the line.
There was time just for one more effort on goal, and this came from Hampton as Marcus passed to Haluna Muscala and although he hit his shot well, Hall was able to dive low to his right to keep the shot out and preserve the narrow victory margin for United.
Report by Nick Bell.
United Man of the Match: Osei Sankofa.