Hayes & Yeading United saw a two goal advantage slip from their grasp in the final eight minutes of this exciting encounter at Church Road against a Wycombe side captained by first team striker Leon Knight and including former United "loanee" Calum Botham.
Staforde Palmer had just fired too high for United when the visitors were gifted a lead by returning skipper Nevin Saroya. The skipper playing just his second game of the pre-season campaign played a weak backpass that the impressive George Daly was quick to reach, he drew Tom Cadmore and Delroy Preddie towards him before placing to ball on a plate for Knight to fire home.
The same two combined in reverse a few minutes later as Knight's cross found the unmarked Daly in the centre but the wide man could not direct his header at the target. Knight continued to be a thorn in the United side and was only denied a second by Preddie's outstretched boot when he was allowed to turn in the six yard box. Despite these two chances, sixty seconds later the game was levelled. Scott Fitzgerald managed to take the ball from a defender in the area and as the ball rolled loose Palmer stepped up and beat keeper James Reading low to his left.
While Knight was proving a handful for the United defence, Palmer was doing the same to the Chairboys. Indeed ten minutes before the break he surged upfield from halfway before placing the ball into the run of Danny Allen-Page on the flank, his centre fell to Fitzgerald with his back to goal but his effort was blocked away by Reading at close quarters.
Allen-Page then headed across the face of goal from a Cadmore free-kick and Saroya appeared to miss a throughball that ran to Knight who was only denied by a Peter Collins tackle with Cadmore tidying up. The final minute of the half saw United take the lead, courtesy of former Chairboy Steven Gregory who pounced on a defensive error in the six yard box to fire past Reading.
The League 2 side came out with guns blazing in the second period and in the first ten minutes could have netted on no fewer than four occasions but the United defence remained solid. First chance was created by Knight who outpaced Saroya before feeding Jordan Lumsden who despite being unmarked failed to test Preddie. Three chances in as many minutes followed, Preddie threw himself in the way of a Knight volley, Knight found Daly in the six yard box which required a last minute Steve Perkins interception to stop the equaliser and last but not least Botham's cross was met by a flying Daly but he could not keep his header down.
Having kept Wycombe at bay, United almost doubled their lead just before the hour when Palmer met a Fitzgerald cross but his close range diving header was superbly kept out by Reading. A third for United was not long coming as Perkins rose superbly at the far post to power home a pinpoint Saroya free-kick giving Reading no chance.
While a fourth United pre-season victory looked a very good bet, Botham had other ideas. Eight minutes remained in the game when he moved into the box and appeared to be tripped by Ram Marwa, referee Cleere agreed and pointed to the spot. Knight stepped up and beat substitute keeper Aaron Howe comfortably. Just three minutes remained on the watch when Botham himself levelled the scores, Knight won the ball in the middle of the park and released the pacy winger who calmly slotted the ball under the advancing Howe.
Report by Kevin Watts.
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