Phil Babb’s United side showed what great fight and resilience they have this season by recovering a two goal half-time deficit at Wheatsheaf Park and turning it into Hayes & Yeading’s first ever win at Staines Town, at the fifth attempt.
The gaffer made one enforced change to the starting XI that defeated Stortford at the weekend, with Matt Ruby being unavailable, De’Reece Vanderhyde moved inside to partner Dean Inman with Chimdi Akubuine taking over at right-back. The bench place vacated by Akubuine being taken by new arrival, from Leatherhead, Vas Karagiannis.
The game however was to start in horrific fashion for United as a needlessly conceded free-kick 30+ yards from goal saw Louie Theophanous strike the ball as clean as a whistle and it flew low into the corner of Calum Kitscha’s net with just 36 seconds played.
After the early setback the game really had little flow to it for a good fifteen minutes as both sides seemed to prefer the long ball game. When United did finally get the ball back on the Wheatsheaf Park turf, a quick break away by former Swan Louis-Rae Beadle set up a chance for Dan Wishart but his 20 yard shot across goal went agonisingly the wrong side of the far post.
Theophanous tried from a similar range just a minute later having controlled a United clearance after another long upfield punt from the Swans but Kitscha was down quickly and equal to his effort.
Wishart was on target in the 20th minute with a free-kick but despite a small deflection off the wall, Jack Turner in the Swans goal took hold of the shot comfortably.
Minutes later the home side lost the services of full-back Sanchez Ming who was injured in a coming together with Wishart with the defender appearing to twist his knee in the turf leading to him being replaced and carried off on a stretcher, we wish him a speedy recovery.
Ten minutes from the break the Swans doubled their lead as Chris M’Boungou rose to head a corner goalwards that Kitscha looked to have kept out only for the ball to spill back into the United net.
Twice United went close to reducing the deficit before the break, firstly a long Wishart throw was helped on by Pat Cox and met full on the volley by Beadle with his well struck effort only just clearing Turner’s goal. Then deep into stoppage time Wishart collected a pass on the right side, cut inside onto his left and let fly from 25 yards with Turner grasping the ball at the second attempt.
United ended the first half in the ascendancy without finding the net and came out in the second half in the same manner but this time got the break they deserved after just two minutes. Artwell and skipper Matty Harriott combined on the left and when the ball was played inside to Akubuine 30 yards from goal not a lot seemed on but he struck a find low drive that Turner got down to but could not stop from creeping just inside the right-hand upright and United were deservedly back in the game.
The home side then started to push for another of their own. Brendan Kiernan broke away from halfway before letting fly from 18 yards but Kitscha pocketed his effort easily and minutes later Swans substitute Stéphane Ngamvoulou made space inside the box by dragging the ball onto his left foot and getting away a shot that was superbly blocked away by a sliding Dean Inman tackle that took the ball wide of the target.
United then turned the match around in the space of three minutes with much assistance from newly arrived substitutes Vas Karagiannis and Affy Obafemi. Karagiannis cut inside from the right and hit a fierce shot from 25 yards that Turner opted to push away, Artwell quickly regained possession for United, found Cox inside the box on the right before running on to the return to net his first United goal.
Two minutes later a burst into the area on the left side by Obafemi saw him felled by the challenge of Ngamvoulou and referee Mr Hair had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Cox stepped up and fired into the top corner from 12 yards to put United in front for the first time in the game.
Despite hit for three and now behind, credit goes to the Swans who picked themselves and immediately started pressing hard for an equaliser. Max Worsfold dropped a free-kick right into the mix in the middle of the United box with the ball finally being cleared after two well timed defensive blocks in front of goal.
Kitscha then made the best save of the game when a Swans corner went beyond all and sundry before being shipped back in to Jerel Ifil, his sweetly met volley through a crowded box being superbly pushed away by the diving United stopper.
Two minutes from time the final chance of the game fell to Swans player/coach Calum Willock, Bajram Pashaj raced his way up the right side before sliding the ball to Willock who hit his shot straight into Kitscha’s arms.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Chimdi Akubuine.