Garry Haylock’s men gave another demonstration of mental strength when they ground out a 0-0 draw against a hardworking physical opposition who were desperate to cause an upset against the equal highest ranked team in the competition at this stage.
While United never reached the heights of last weeks performance, a stubborn defensive showing restricted the number of saves that Aaron Howe had to make and it was Louis Wells the former Hayes FC reserve keeper that had to pull off the two best saves off the game.
The hosts started the game quickly and were soon in their stride as we struggled to get our fluent passing going and in the 5th minute Dean Thomas had one of their few clear sights of goal when an Elliot Onochie cross found him well placed and he hooked over from close range.
It was Tom Cadmore and Matt Ruby who were creating a platform at the back to build on but we were unable to get into our stride as an attacking force. Cadmore made a good block in the 8th minute to deny Richard Butler a clear sight of goal as Butler caused the United backline trouble throughout along with his strike partner Onochie. It was Butler who went close in the 20th minute when he turned Ruby on the edge of the box before shooting just wide of Howe’s post and Onochie shot over when well placed three minutes later.
Despite all of the hosts pressure it was United who came inches away from scoring. A fantastic low free kick from the right side of the box by Josh Scott just needed the merest of touches at the back post from Matt Ruby but he couldn’t reach it.
Although Jake Newton and Lee Kersey both had shots for the hosts they again failed to trouble Howe. United then came close again in 34th minute. The unusually subdued Staforde Palmer saw his powerful shot from short range fly just over Wells' crossbar and four minutes later Scott went close with a shot.
United did however get a warning shot a minute before the break when again Onochie fired across the face of goal and just inches wide of Howe’s post.
The second half was played in much the same vein as the first, hard working hosts putting their visitors under pressure and forcing them into some errant passes with Staines playing a very direct style of football hitting the two lively and dangerous forwards. Two minutes after the restart Dave Sargent fired a free kick over as the hosts put us under pressure without ever really putting Howe’s goal under threat and even when Dean Thomas did he shot straight into Howe’s arms in the 64th minute.
For all the hosts pressure and hard work it was Wells who pulled off a fantastic double save. Will Hendry’s 66th minute free kick from the edge of the box flew through the wall and Wells saw it late to pull off a great save low to his right and then make a great recovery to deny Steven Gregory. Five minutes later the hosts came as close as they came all game, when Butler dispossessed Ruby he was in a great position before bending the ball wide of Howe’s left hand post.
Attempts on goal came and went at both ends, before nine minutes from time Palmer produced another fantastic save from Wells, when he turned away a powerful near post half volley. The hosts last meaningful attack on goal came five minutes from time, when former Hayes FC man, Clement James fired just wide after a half cleared free kick. Hayes and Yeading United however nearly snatched a last minute winner when Scott Fitzgerald headed just over following a James Mulley cross
Injury time saw lots of industry from both sides but little in the way of chances, so the two sides get to meet again at Church Road on Tuesday to do it all over again.
Report by Nick Griffith. Photos by Ray Peploe.
Match Highlights available at www.fcvideo.co.uk
Website United Man of the Match: Tom Cadmore.