Hayes and Yeading United's under 18 side enjoyed a large victory over Northwood for the second time this season, netting twelve times, although for at least the first half an hour, such a winning margin never seemed on the cards.
The visitors started brightly as Cal Burrows forced Dom Gossemna into a brave diving block with a low shot and from the corner which followed, Jack Glover rose highest but headed back across goal and wide. Soon afterwards, Burrows got in behind the back line but Gossemna successfully narrowed down his angle by advancing out and his shot drifted wide. The pressure continued and Jakoc Lasia was unfortunate when he charged down Gossemna's clearance but saw the ball balloon over the bar and another defensive lapse allowed Burrows time to shoot but his 25 yard effort deflected off Nathan Mushidi and just missed the right hand post.
It took a long time for United to get going but as soon as they did, they went 1-0 up. Ethan Grant forced a corner and from it, George Harmes found Dan Edwards head and he looped a header in totally unopposed. Undeterred, the away side went straight back on the attack. Connor Maher hit a dipping long shot which Gossemna could only parry, but the United keeper did remarkably well to get up and prevent Burrows from scoring from the rebound. Then Burrows hit the bar with a curling shot which had Gossemna well beaten.
A slick passing move broke up the continual Northwood pressure. Deji Alabi advanced and played in Emmanuel Katundu. His pass found Harrison Livingstone and he turned and played in Lucas Sinclair who was inches wide with his shot. This heralded a change in momentum and Harmes's free kick caused mayhem in front of goal before Joe Ringer took charge and shepherded the ball away from danger. However, on 34 minutes, United doubled their lead as Alabi bravely won the ball in midfield and slid the ball through to Grant. He rode a physical challenge and his decision to stay on his feet was rewarded as he slotted the ball just inside the far post.
Just seven minutes later, United extended the lead further. Harmes was upended just as he was advancing into the box and directly from the free kick, Livingstone thumped the ball into the bottom corner. By half time, two more goals were added, as in stoppage time, Livingston put Alabi through on the right and he was clipped by Ringer for a penalty which Livingstone converted. Then, just a minute later, Sinclair turned in the penalty area and beat Ringer with a low shot which the keeper will have been disappointed not to keep out.
Just after the break, Maher hit a free kick which Gossemna caught easily and Burrows seize drew upon a poor clearance but shot straight at the United keeper, but just like the first half, The home side were far more clinical and a brilliant arced run by Livingstone down the left led to a low centre which Katundu eventually converted after creating enough space to shoot, low into the bottom left corner.
To their credit, Northwood battled on, but the gulf in quality was telling much more than in the opening stages of the match and the flurry of goals continued. On 57 minutes, Edwards touched in Sinclair's left wing free kick at the near post for his second of the game and the Latter got his second seven minutes afterwards, tapping in after Alabi's mazy run ended in a blocked shot. Katundu then added his second, running in behind the Woods' defence to latch onto Livingstone's forward pass and slot the ball in. Grant then got in on the act to claim his second and United's tenth, taking the ball around Ringer and applying a forceful enough shot to beat the retreating defenders on the line.
Livingstone notched his hat-trick on 77 minutes, after Katundu generously sacrificed his own chance to get one to square the ball to his team mate for a tap in after both players bore down on goal. Four minutes later, he also set up Sinclair for a hat-trick chance but Ringer tipped his rising shot onto the bar and over. Grant was also denied a hat-trick by the keeper who dived to beat away his low shot, but he was powerless to prevent it from happening in the 89th minute as Grant slammed it in, following more scintillating attacking play from Katundu.
Thankfully for the beleaguered visitors, the scoring ended there on a difficult night for them, but for United, it was a confidence boosting largest win of the season.
Report by Nick Bell.
United Man of the Match: Manny Katundu.