Hayes & Yeading started 2015 with a much improved performance and should have taken all three points in a “strange” home game against landlords Maidenhead United at York Road, having to eventually settle for a share of the spoils.
Changes to the starting XI saw a return between the sticks for Calum Kitscha, new arrival Wes Daly replaced the departed Matty Harriott, Mason Spence came in for Gary MacDonald and lastly 17 year-old Dylan Kearney earned his first start in place of Nathan Elder.
An early 25 yard dead ball effort from David Moli was fielded comfortably by Will Britt in the Magpies goal before a quick break up the right flank by Adrian Clifton saw his cross being volleyed home from close range by veteran striker DJ Campbell to give our landlords the lead in just the 13th minute.
United took this as a wake-up call and started to put together some good forward motion of their own, finding an equaliser just 8 minutes later. Matt Ruby collected the ball in an unusually advanced midfield area, found Mason Spence wide on the right side and he ran at and went past Leon Solomon before driving in a cross that skipper Dean Inman met with a diving close range header at the far post for his first goal of the season (below left).
United continued to push the Magpies back as the half wore on. Dylan Kearney drove at the Magpies defence before sliding the ball through to Moli who failed to connect properly and presented an easy grab for Britt. Minutes later Kearney was again the attacking catalyst as he found Spence who from 20 yards forced Britt to dive full stretch to touch his shot around the post.
As United still held the balance of play, Ruby headed an Adam Everitt out-swinging corner just over the crossbar before Spence broke on the right with his cross going wide off the outside of the upright. Having been quiet in the United box, Calum Kitscha had to be alert just before the break when the sting was taken off a Jacob Erskine shot only for the striker to retain possession with Kitscha diving quickly at his feet to grab the ball inside the six yard box.
The final chance of the first half fell to United and produced the best save of the half from the Magpies Will Britt, the Southampton loanee doing well to tip Moli’s curling drive around the post after the United striker had left Simon Downer standing.
Phil Babb’s side again started the second period well. Greg Morgan found Moli in the Magpies area, his low cross/shot was pushed out into play by Britt but the visitors defence were quicker to the loose ball and hacked clear. Within a minute the Magpies were away on the break as a rather offside looking Erskine raced away with Ruby giving chase, the United defender catching and making a superb blocking tackle with Kitscha diving on the loose ball.
As the hour mark approached United again went close, this time through new arrival Wes Daly who collected from a deflected Moli shot and tried to curl the ball into the far corner only to miss the post by inches.
Inman and Spence both then went close without working ‘keeper Britt and after a lengthy lull in chances, the game seemed to be playing out to draw when Clifton found space in the United box for a shot that Ruby did well to block wide.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
Island Exhibitions United Man of the Match: Greg Morgan.
Print the Teamsheet: Here.