An incredible game with ten goals and several further chances to score was finally settled in favour of Hendon, although everyone in attendance surely got their money's worth.
Hayes and Yeading United opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute as Jack Raines' long cross field ball put Ethan Grant in behind the Dons' back line and his pace got him in a one on one, which soon became a two on one as he squared for Harrison Livingstone to apply a simple finish into an empty net. However, the lead was only to last two minutes as despite a last ditch goal line header from James Taylor which looked to have prevented a goal, only for a follow up header by Nathan Mawer-Davis to beat him on the line.
Hendon were inches away from taking an immediate lead as Mickey White got through on the left channel only for Dom Gossemna to finger tip his shot onto the inside of the post and pounce on the rebound. United responded with Lucas Sinclair sending a fierce 15 yard volley towards the bottom corner only to be denied by a fine save. A frantic opening quarter of an hour concluded with Hendon getting the ball in the net, but being penalised for a push on Gossemna as he attempted to make a catch.
Play continued at a blistering pace. White hit the near post from a tight angle on the left hand side, before Sinclair rounded the home keeper, but his angle became too acute before he could get a shot away. However, White was to get his goal on 24 minutes, again from the left channel as he latched on to a pass from James Raptis with a low shot which cannoned in off the far post.
Both teams looked capable of adding to the tally and United were desperately unlucky after a superb passing move involving Max Hibbins, Javier Mato, Grant and George Harmes culminated in a shot which hit the underside of the bar and bounced down - a goal might well have been given with technology, but none of the unfortunate officials could possibly have told whether the ball had fully crossed the line. Hendon again hit the post with a fierce shot from the left channel but on 32 minutes, United got their equaliser as James Taylor's precise throughball put Sinclair in, and he flicked the ball first time beyond the onrushing keeper.
It was United's turn to find the woodwork. Sinclair squared for Grant but he was beaten to the ball. An off balance clearance fell kindly for Livingstone and he cracked a 15 yard shot again off the underside of the bar.
There was however still time for another goal apiece before half time as after Sinclair was bundled over in the box, Emmanuel Katundu slotted in the resulting penalty into the bottom right corner, just beyond the keeper's fingertips. The hosts immediately equalised though, as United were caught trying to work a short goal kick out of their own half. Good Hendon pressing on the left flank got them the ball and a pinpoint cross from Raptis was headed firmly home by a player who started the campaign scoring with United, Malachy McGovern.
In comparison, the second half was a far more sedate affair, although Hendon did twice go close in the opening stages, first when McGovern rode a few tackles but fired his shot straight at Gossemna, then when the United keeper bravely beat away White's shot. However, they did retake the lead on 63 minutes when a corner seemed to be cleared only for Ben Gray to volley the ball back into the net from at least 30 yards despite Gossemna's best efforts to keep it out.
In keeping with what went on previously, the lead wasn't to last long, as Sinclair held off his marker on the edge of the box long enough to be allowed to tee up Katundu who drove his shot into the corner through a crowded penalty area to make it four apiece.
It was to be a quick fire brace from White though which eventually settled the match. He first fired in a low shot which Gossemna will be disappointed not to have kept out, and then he converted from the penalty spot after he'd been pushed over by the United keeper in a battle to retrieve a loose ball which had rebounded off the post.
This decisive flurry of goals won this pulsating match, although United did again test the home side's keeper, both with Taylor's direct free kick which he palmed away at full stretch, and from Deji Alabi's shot which he bravely blocked. It was just a shame that one side had to lose and this time, it was United.
Report by Nick Bell.
United Man of the Match: Emmanuel Katundu.