Hayes and Yeading United's under 18s side slipped to a narrow defeat to local rivals Staines Town in a really competitive and fast paced match decided by a single first half goal.
United captain James Taylor had the first effort on target, a direct free kick which Staines goalkeeper Julian Schwarzer caught comfortably. Staines's first shot on goal opened the scoring as Nebay Haile's precise throughball put Elliot Baptiste in behind the United back line and he prodded the ball past the advancing Dom Gossenma and into the net.
United looked for a quick response and Lucas Sinclair latched onto a deep corner at the back post, but from an angle, he shot straight at Schwarzer. A few minutes later, the same player ran at the visitors' defence a run that took him from the touch line to right in front of goal but his shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Just before the half an hour mark, Staines had a great chance to double their lead when a straight throughball found Haile and although he appeared offside, play continued. He was able to round Gossenma but his shot was blocked from going in by a rapidly retreating Taylor. After a bit of head tennis from the resulting corner, Baptiste headed wide.
Aside from an off balance Baptiste shot from the left channel which Gossenma watched into his hands and a Milos Vukasinovic header which Nathan Mushidi blocked on the line and Gossenma tipped the bouncing ball over the bar, there was no further threat to either goal until the second half.
Despite it being a fast paced, competitive period of the game, the opening moments of the second half produced little goalmouth incident until the 58th minute, when Sinclair played a one two with Manny Katundu and hit a rising shot which Schwarzer did very well to tip over. Staines then went even closer on 65 minutes as Joe Tuck tried a 30 yard shot which dipped wickedly and cannoned off the bar, catching Rhys Jones offside on the rebound.
Two more near misses in quick succession came from Staines headers, the first saw Javier Mato clearing at the back post and the second from Michael Dwane-Holden, Gossenma held. However, United still threatened to score as well as Katundu sent a half cleared corner back goalwards with a rasping drive which Schwarzer caught.
Play reached the latter stages with United making tactical changes to try to unlock the Staines defence. Dan Edwards was inches away from doing so with a header which just missed the near post from George Harmes's corner. He then headed Sinclair's free kick goalwards but there wasn't enough pace to beat Schwarzer. This proved to be United's last chance, leaving Staines delighted to claim the three points having really been stretched all the way to earn them.
Report by Nick Bell.
United Man of the Match: James Taylor.