Manager Mickey Lewis made several changes from Saturday’s starting line-up through a mixture of choice and player unavailability and it was certainly a better performance, although sadly the same result in another defeat, this time at Slough Town’s brand new Arbour Park Stadium.
United started very well on the new Arbour Park 3G pitch with Lloyd Macklin latching onto a Melford Simpson flick only to be denied by Slough ‘keeper Mark Scott diving to his left to push the ball away.
A quick break at the other end saw Warren Harris break into the box only to be denied a shot by an excellent Colin Mugoya interception before the first ever goal at Arbour Park arrived on 10 minutes, and it went to United.
Simpson controlled the ball and fed it down the right to a raiding Jimmy Shepherd, his low centre being fired home by the on-coming Macklin to give Hayes & Yeading an early lead.
United could have had a fortunate second minutes later when Scott rose to punch a Cole Brown corner only to see the ball hit the back of Simpson’s head before dropping just wide of the post.
The home side started to push themselves forwards looking for a leveller and when Simon Dunn was given space to run at the United defence from the middle of the park it needed an excellent tip over from Wells to deny the Rebels their first Arbour Park goal. From the corner they went close again, Yassin Moutaouakil clearing off the line from Guy Hollis.
Five minutes later though the Rebels were level. A punt up the park saw Lee Barney move into the United box, evade a Tom Broadbent tackle and although forced wide he managed to smash the ball past Wells much to the joy of the bulk of the 1,401 in attendance.
Chances continued to come freely at both ends without further troubling the scorers up to the break. Charlie Moone headed a deep Lewis Putman free-kick wide at the far post and then as play switched immediately to the other end, Harold Joseph helped the ball on to Simpson who struck a dipping volley that looked to have beaten Scott only for the ‘keeper to get his fingers to the shot at full stretch to help it over.
Wells was next in action when Harris chipped the ball forwards to Barney, the United ‘keeper forced the striker wide before getting a fingertip to his effort that took it onto the roof of the net. Moone met the resultant corner with a diving header that went into Wells’ midriff.
Still chances came thick and fast and we hadn’t even reached half time. Simpson was again unlucky in his quest for his first United goal, his low first time shot being kept out by Scott’s outstretched boot and then in stoppage time another Rebels corner was met by Dunn on the volley forcing Wells into a spectacular tip over.
Then second half was not to see a change in tempo despite the heat of the afternoon sun.
An early chance came the way of United when just three minutes in a corner fell sweetly to Tom Broadbent, Scott did well to block away his initial effort but the ball went back to the defender for a second attempt, this one being blocked by a defender a few yards from goal.
As with the first half play quickly switched ends and Wells had to be sharp, turning away a low angled shot from Rebels substitute James Dobson.
Simpson headed over for United and Harris fired wide for the home side, again within minutes of each other before Wells was needed again, diving to save low from Moone.
Just after the hour mark United should have taken a deserved lead. Simpson flicked on, Macklin nicked the ball in front of Scott who collided with one of his defenders, the United striker from an acute angle only managing to find the side netting of a vacant goal.
Moone again went close before with just 14 minutes left the Rebels struck what was to be the winner. Harris broke away quickly on the right side before picking out Dobson in the middle, the substitute firing low beyond Wells’ desperate dive in to the far corner.
United continued to push up field looking for what would have been a thoroughly deserved equaliser but it was not to be, the closest being a well hit Broadbent free-kick that Scott tipped over at full stretch.
A thoroughly entertaining game in front of a big crowd on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday, sadly the wrong result for United but no major difference between two sides that find themselves at opposite ends of the early season table. Onwards and Upwards.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Melford Simpson.