Hayes and Yeading United were in party mood, beating promotion chasing Concord Rangers at a sunny Canvey Island despite playing the majority of the match a man short.
The initial sparring came to nothing, although Hayes and Yeading United played the most progressive football, with George McLennan and Greg Morgan looking dangerous on each wing. Concord striker Lewis Taaffe had one goalbound effort charged down by Lewis Ferrell and he was unable to get any purchase on the follow up. On 14 minutes, United earned their first corner with Morgan playing the ball off Danny Glozier's legs. Luke Williams took the kick, arrowing in a driven cross which Christian Smith met with perfect timing to bullet his header into the corner of the net.
The dust bowl pitch and swirling breeze made flowing football difficult and scuppered Concord's ambitions to get back into the game although on 35 minutes, an off the ball tussle between Morgan and Glozier enhanced their chances, as Morgan received a red card for head butting the Rangers left back. Immediately, Glozier was replaced and Concord had a reshuffle, bringing on forward Tony Stokes. However, the home side were unable to muster any other chances apart from a Long range free kick from Taylor Miles which Grant Smith comfortably caught.
The second half began in predictable style with promotion chasing Rangers forcefully attacking the ten man United and Tristan Lewis's men trying to make it as difficult as possible for them to work their way back into it. Only occasionally did they come close in the first quarter of an hour, the first when Miles got down the right wing and Stokes turned the ball goalwards at the near post only for Jim Fenlon to deflect the ball wide.
The second chance also fell to Stokes but under pressure from Inman, albeit from a good position, he fired wildly over. On 68 minutes, the home side came much closer. For once, the United defence struggled to clear the ball and Steve Cawley flicked the ball on to Sam Collins whose header drifted across the face of goal and just wide. Cawley himself had the next chance, firing just wide following neat build up play and a lay off by Joe Gardner.
For a while, the chances dried up for Concord although they were denied by Grant Smith's sharp reactions, diving low to his left to grab on to Gardner's near post snapshot. At the other end, Christian Smith connected again with a header, this time from a free kick by the tireless Luke Williams, but his connection was nowhere near as sweet as it was for his goal and Josh Vickers fielded the ball comfortably.
And that was it. United were able to see out the rest of the game comfortably and claim a hard earned three points to reward the travelling band of long suffering supporters who made the long trip on public transport in their fancy dress costumes, a penguin (aka Martin Warn) receiving a celebratory embrace from Gary MacDonald and the lads on the final whistle.
Report by Nick Bell.
United Man of the Match: Luke Williams.