Hayes and Yeading’s away Boxing Day fixture at our temporary home ground against landlords Maidenhead United saw the hosts secure three points with a second half brace from Danny Green in the final quarter of the game that also saw United end with ten men when young striker Dylan Kearney was dismissed for violent conduct 60 seconds after coming off the bench.
Manager Phil Babb, unusually for United, retained the same starting XI that had beaten Chelmsford at York Road just before Christmas, with goalkeeping coach Delroy Preddie replacing Calum Kitscha amongst the substitutes.
With rain starting to fall prior to kick off and continuing throughout the game, this was never going to be a classic and so it proved. Early chances came and went for both sides with the first opening falling to the Magpies when Adrian Clifton’s cross was deflected to Danny Green who took a touch but fired wide from 12 yards. Minutes later United’s first sight of Will Britt’s goal saw Mason Spence and Nathan Elder combine to feed the ball right to Greg Morgan whose low shot was held by Britt diving to his right.
After this chances in the first half really were at a premium. The best came in the 22nd minute, Adam Everitt played the ball up the field to Isaac Layne who brought the ball down on the edge of the box, turned past Simon Downer and hit a low shot that Britt did well to push around the post, again diving to his right.
Five minutes later a Grant Smith goal-kick was headed straight back towards the United box, Clifton brought the ball down, turned past two defenders and having advanced into the United area he dragged his shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
The final and only other real chance of the half fell to the experienced DJ Campbell who got on the end of a Dave Tarpey centre but his scissor-kick was weak and easily gathered by Smith.
It was almost on the hour before the reporters pen was again in action, Everitt’s long throw was brought under control by Layne who again turned his marker but this time his effort failed to trouble Britt.
A six minute spell with less than 20 minutes remaining saw United’s game pretty much ended as a contest. Clifton’s miss-hit shot fell neatly to Eddie Hutchinson in the box, he steered the ball left to Green who fired confidently low past Smith to open the scoring.
Three minutes later Green and the Magpies had two. Tarpey broke away on the right flank and fed the ball inside to Green who took aim and hit a swerving 20 yard shot that Smith got a full hand to but the power took the ball into the far corner of the net, dropping just inside the post.
The United bench’s response was to throw 17 year-old Dylan Kearney into the fray, sadly this was to backfire within 60 seconds as the youngster retaliated after being fouled and with referee Busby only a few feet away, the red card was no surprise and United would have to play out the game with ten men.
Surprisingly it was United who looked more likely to score from this point, not sure whether the Magpies relaxed or whether United picked up the pace due to being two behind.
Rhys Murrell-Williamson’s centre to Spence saw the United man turn his marker on a sixpence in the box, his first effort was blocked and as the ball bounced upwards he headed over Britt’s challenge but also over the crossbar.
Former Magpie Matt Ruby went close with a header from a free-kick before Spence again got through on goal, this time turning past Devante McKain only to be denied by a well timed Mark Nisbet tackle that took the ball wide.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Mason Spence.