Hayes & Yeading brought a well earned point back from Essex as they played out a typically feisty, wind affected 1-1 draw with Chelmsford which saw two fine strikes to deservedly cancel each other out and continued United's fine run of form which now stands at one defeat in 6.
Chelmsford flew out of the blocks and took the lead in just the fifth minute. Leon Redwood, who had hit a 35 yard sighter just over the bar a minute earlier hit another sweet strike from 35 yards leaving Grant Smith as a spectator to a ball flying into the top right hand corner on the back of a strong wind. It could have been two ninety seconds later if not for a last ditch tackle from Dean Inman on Jason Williams.
United had a strong penalty appeal turned down as Inman was seemingly pulled down in the box from a corner and this was a sign of things to come as the sides battled it out physically, meaning the game turned very scrappy and could have resulted in more bookings in the opening twenty minutes than the one for Chelmsford skipper Mark Hughes.
It was Chelmsford who looked more likely to add to their advantage, kicking downwind. Michael Cheek twice spurned chances, as first a throw and secondly a Redwood free-kick found their way through a crowded box to the striker but he fired at Smith and over respectively.
United's only shot on target in the first half came in the 36th minute and it was a tame effort as skipper Matty Harriott hit the ball straight at the Chelmsford keeper Anthony Thompson.
The game came into life in the final three minutes of the first half with the wind picking up. Another Redwood cross saw Cheek beat Smith to the ball only to head over before the striker saw a strong shot saved by Smith resulting in a goalmouth scramble with Rhodell Gordon firing wide.
It was however United who had the final chance of the half. Some lovely passing football around the box saw the ball played out wide to Louis-Rae Beadle, who cut inside and fired just over the bar.
Tom Collins came on for Ashleigh Artwell at half-time and it was he who had the first real chance of the second half. A long ball upfield from Grant Smith that the Chelmsford defence allowed to bounce broke for the striker who attempted to lob the keeper but got too much on it and the wind helped the ball to clear the stand.
From the resulting goal-kick, Chelmsford almost doubled their lead. A simple flick on broke to Joe Ward whose shot from a tight angle hit the side netting only.
The game then settled down into a tight midfield affair with the only points of interest being Cheek being booked for simulation trying to win a penalty under pressure from Inman and a Harriott shot that was parried by Thompson. However the introduction of Rhys Murrell-Williamson changed the game.
The winger came on in the 66th minute and five minutes later his cross with the outside of his left boot foxed Hughes who could only head against his own post, with Thompson well beaten. In the 76th minute, Murrell-Williamson went one better. This time he cut inside on to his left foot and unleashed a ferocious strike from 25 yards which was always moving away from Thompson and flew into the back of the Clarets net.
The last fifteen minutes were end to end with only some good defending from both teams denying any real clear chances. United however came closest with a Lewis Ferell free-kick nearly fooling everyone as he shot at the near post but only managed to hit the outside of the post.
The game petered out towards the end but there was an enjoyable moment in the final minute of stoppage time as 17 year-old Academy striker Dylan Kearney came on to make his first team debut to loud cheers from the travelling fans.