Hayes & Yeading failed to score and suffered a single goal defeat for the second consecutive match at the SKYex as Mickey Lewis’s side struggle early season to find their feet at this level.
This match against Dunstable Town saw yet another new face in United red as central defender Tom Broadbent arrived to partner Harold Joseph in the back line in place of the unavailable Adam Green while further up field Harry Grant started in place of the injured James Harper in midfield.
With the pitch at the SKYex looking superb as you would expect, both sides’ had early chances to break the deadlock. The first opening came from a Jack Mills in-swinging corner that Town ‘keeper Jack Smith punched out as it was heading directly into the goal, this was quickly followed by Jimmy Shepherd winning the ball in his own half and racing forwards, exchanging passes with Keir Dickson before crossing from the bye-line, a defensive slice saw the ball fall to Dickson who danced around a challenge but saw his effort blocked by a defender on the edge of the six yard box.
Minutes later a superb throughball from midfield sent Town striker Alex Cathline through on goal, Tom Broadbent doing well to catch and challenge the big striker who fired weakly straight at Louis Wells. Wells was tested more thoroughly shortly after when Danny Green fed Jack Hutchinson on the left of the United area, he cut inside and hit a shot that Wells pushed away diving to his left.
We were now just past the half mark and a rapid break away from the edge of the United area by Sam Humphreys saw him slide the ball in to Lloyd Macklin’s run, his shot being well defended by Zack Reynolds who had tracked the strikers run and the shot was deflected out for a corner that came to nothing.
Two minutes later it was double whammy for United as the visitors took the lead. Smith’s long goal-kick was flicked on to David Keenleyside beyond the United defence, his shot was superbly kept out by Wells but the ball fell nicely to Cathline on the edge of the box and he fired low into the far corner.
In stoppage time United went close once more, Smith pushing a Mills free-kick over the bar with Mills’ resultant corner being headed wide by Dickson that was it and we went in a goal adrift at the break.
The visitors could have had a second within a minute of the re-start, former United defender Jhai Dhillon picking out Keenleyside in the middle, his downwards header being pushed over by Wells. Within minutes Wells was needed again as Hutchinson was allowed space to move in from the left, his shot being superbly tipped away at full stretch by the United ‘keeper.
The visitors continued to press for a second and Wells was again in action in the 53rd minute, getting dow quickly to his post to gather a Danny Talbot free-kick.
United’s forwards tempo seemed to take a boost with the arrival from the bench of Dylan Kearney and Ernest Okoh and for the final half hour most of the attacking threat came from the home side.
Kearney had a shot from inside the area blocked by Reynolds before a Mills free-kick from the right was met in the middle by Joseph but his header was too high to trouble Smith. With less than a quarter of the game remaining, a long Wells free-kick found Dickson in the left channel, he skipped past Reynolds into the area and fired low across the six yard box where a flying Okoh in the middle just failed to connect.
The Mills – Joseph combination almost proved fruitful on 78 minutes when the defender met another free-kick, this time his header bounced over off the top of the Dunstable goal.
With just ten minutes left, Okoh left both David Longe-King and Dhillon in his wake on the right before pulling the ball back to Kearney who took a touch and fired goalwards only to be denied by Smith who did well to push the shot around the post and this proved to be the last clear cut opening of the game as United fell to defeat.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Brian Matthews.
United Man of the Match: Keir Dickson.
Print the Teamsheet: Here.