With both sides being relegated from the National South last season and finding their feet in the Southern Premier, an even game was on the cards and it proved such with a draw for Mickey Lewis’s Hayes & Yeading side at Basingstoke being a fair result on the evenings play.
The United line-up took on a new look with no fewer than 3 debutants as the Manager looks to find the right combination for his side.
First effort on goal came from the home side when Louis Wells comfortably collected a George Hallahan shot from the edge of the box however minutes later a burst down the right at the other end saw Jim Fenlon chip the ball to the far post, Harry Grant headed it back with former United ‘keeper Alex Tokarczyk getting a hand to the ball before grabbing it.
Within a minute United went even closer, James Harper lofted the ball over the last defender, Lloyd Macklin beat Tokarczyk to the ball only for his lob to come back off the upright to hit the striker once more and go wide.
With United starting to get on top, it was a shock to the system three minutes later when the home side took the lead. Former United under-18 Tamille Roach fired a free-kick in from the left to the near post where Aaron Jarvis nipped in to volley home.
The home side should have doubled their advantage on 35 minutes, Wells chased the ball to the side of his box only for Jarvis to get there first, he found Michael Atkinson who picked out the unmarked George Hallahan in the middle but he headed wide of the vacant net.
United made the Dragons pay for this miss by pulling level within sixty seconds when Harper’s curling corner from the left was met at the far post by stooping debutant Keir Dickson who placed his header beyond Tokarczyk into the bottom corner (above left).
As the first period closed out, Hallahan blasted over when well placed for the home side before United’s Ismael Ehui went close from range.
The second half started with an early chance for the home side, again courtesy of a Roach free-kick, this time Hallahan being denied by a timely sliding block by United skipper Adam Everitt.
Dickson was inches away from a second, again having met a Harper corner and at the other end Jarvis was also close to a second for himself, Wells pushing away his angled drive. Chances continued to come at both ends, Matt Partridge tested Wells from fully 30 yards before Harper’s corner was headed out to Ehui who saw his volley from 15 yards whistle past the post.
The best chance of the second half fell to former Dragon Lloyd Macklin who found himself through a gaggle of defenders and with just Tokarczyk to beat, the ‘keeper doing well to spread himself and keep the effort out with his left boot.
A flourish for the home side saw them control the final few minutes the closest they came to claiming all three points saw Partridge drive goal wards from 25 yards forcing Wells to push his effort over the crossbar.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Harold Joseph.