Hayes and Yeading United edged closer to Conference South safety despite going down by two goals to nil to a competent but unspectacular Whitehawk side.
For the first quarter of the game, it appeared that neither side could cope with the hard and bumpy pitch, and with that combining with a swirling wind, there was little scope for intricate passing play. Whitehawk did earn slightly more territorial advantage but Tristan Lewis's well drilled defence held them easily at bay. The closest they got was from a few dangerous crosses, one which was headed just wide by Christian Smith, and another which Grant Smith got a vital touch to, in order to divert it away from the head of Danny Mills. For the visitors' part, their own dangerous cross, from an Adam Everitt free kick, just evaded Dean Inman's head, bouncing over him on the bone dry surface.
It was 32 minutes before either side had an effort on target and unfortunately for United, it produced a goal for Whitehawk. Everitt pulled back Sam Deering in attempting to break up a swift break and from the resulting free kick, Nick Arnold picked out Danny Mills whose towering header back across goal nestled just inside the far post.
Hayes and Yeading responded quickly with their closest opportunity up to that point. Robbie Matthews and Greg Morgan exchanged passes on the right and the latter skilfully made into the bye-line. He spotted Dylan Kearney's intelligent near post run, but the forward couldn't quite turn the ball in from a narrow angle.
The start of the second half, unlike the first, immediately sprung into life as Mills got in behind the United defence. Grant Smith was alert enough to get off his line quickly, and although Mills was able to get around him he was left with a tight angle and his shot was easily cut out by Jim Fenlon on the line.
Lewis's men began to retain possession better but despite intelligent front man play from Matthews, the home defence was able to cope and in fact, they had the next effort, Pa Saikou Kujabi with a long shot which Grant Smith fielded comfortably.
Lewis decided to change tactics and sent on two substitutes, Emmanuel Monthe and Dominic Green, but his hand was forced soon afterwards when George McLennan picked up an injury. However, Whitehawk were able to extend their lead as a long punt forward was seized upon by Mills and he planted his shot firmly into the net beyond the left hand of Grant Smith.
Another free kick dead ball situation almost added to the tally as Sam Gargan headed just wide left. Play then switched to the other end, with Morgan back heeling to Green in space, but he dragged his shot across goal and wide.
As play reached the final stages, Arnold brilliantly took down a long diagonal ball and looked destined to score from the right channel only to completely fluff his shot. United again responded as Morgan tried his luck from 30 yards, but Craig Ross retreated sufficiently to catch the ball under his bar. Despite their efforts, United couldn't break through the resolute home defence, although results elsewhere edged the club closer to safety from relegation.
Report by Nick Bell.
Photos by Kerri Corbett.
United Man of the Match: Jim Fenlon.