Mickey Lewis’s Hayes & Yeading travelled to St Ives Town to face tenants Cambridge City with yet more new faces added to the rapidly expanding squad in the shape of Jimmy Shepherd and Sam Humphreys both of whom entered the starting line-up in place of Ismael Ehui and Harry Grant.
On a blustery afternoon on a hard bumpy pitch it was difficult to get the ball down and play for both sides and this led to a cautious start to the game.
It did however come alive on 16 minutes when United took the lead. James Harper controlled a clearance from former United youth player David Femiola and played the ball forwards to Lloyd Macklin, the striker taking a touch before lofting the ball coolly over the advancing Josh Smith in the Lillywhites goal (pictured right).
In fact this was to be the highlight of what was quite a drab first period, the home side created very little to trouble Louis Wells while for United Humphreys fired over from 20 yards and Macklin raced in to the box on the left and appeared to be tripped only for referee Franklin to wave away United’s penalty appeals.
And that was it for the first 45.
As the sun finally came out after the heavy showers and high winds of the first half, the second half was to prove a lot more entertaining all around in fact the home side tried to catch out Wells at the kick-off when Sam Alderson immediately shot for goal, the United ‘keeper adjusting his position to deal with the goalbound shot which was against a still strong wind.
For United Harper went close from distance before firing the ball up to Macklin who moved inside his marker only to fire over the top of Smith’s goal and minutes later the same combination set a run into the box in motion once more, Macklin appearing to be shoved over from behind but with referee Franklin still in the United half of the pitch and with no assistance from the assistant another strong United penalty appeal was waved away.
Around the hour mark the home side finally found some forwards momentum of their own, Alderson collected from veteran midfielder Erkan Okay only to see his chipped shot go over off the crossbar and within seconds another ball in to the United box saw the ball drop to Tunde Adewunmi who kicked air six yards out from goal and United were able to clear the ball to safety.
Just two minutes later though the home side appealed and were awarded a spot kick. Adam Green appeared to challenge for the ball just outside the area, the assistant referee near the incident awarded a free-kick but the man who mattered ruled that the offence continued into the box and awarded a spot kick. Adewunmi beat Wells’ dive low into the corner to level the scores.
The home side, who had barely looked like scoring in the first half, now really had their tails up. Alderson fired in a free-kick from 25 yards that Wells did well to push away and then two minutes later the Lillywhites were ahead. United’s defence failed to clear their lines, Okay collected the ball and moved in from the left before firing a shot through Harold Josephs legs and beyond the dive of the unsighted Wells.
Mickey Lewis reacted immediately with the introduction of three attack minded players from the bench within a couple of minutes which saw the arrival of Harry Grant, Ernest Okoh and Dylan Kearney into the fray, the latter almost scoring with his first touch as he got his head to a far post Harper corner but couldn’t bring the ball back on target from wide of the post.
The home side immediately broke away at the other end, substitute Gio Lopez breaking through only to be denied by a tackle by debutant Shepherd who had raced back to prevent a shot on goal.
Ten minutes remained when another United substitute Ernest Okoh ran onto a Jack Mills pass, his low shot for the near post being touched wide by City ‘keeper Smith.
With the United pushing but not troubling Smith, the ley to unlock the home defence finally came three minutes in to stoppage time when Grant made inroads down the left side, his cross was helped on by Macklin to Kearney, the young striker showing great composure on the ball before turning his marker and planting a shot past Smith into the far corner to earn United a point from the face of defeat.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Dylan Kearney.