Hayes & Yeading finally took three points from Forest Green Rovers, at the fifth time of asking, as a second half brace from United substitute Tom Collins was enough to separate the two sides at Kingfield.
The two sides, both of whom like to get the ball down and play, spent the opening quarter of the game sizing each other out with very little goalmouth incident. The closest effort coming as early as the third minute when Chris Stokes was given space to raid on the left and his dink into the middle was headed towards his own goal by Tom Cadmore but Steve Arnold was alert and plucked the ball out of the air under his crossbar.
Eddie Oshodi then got to a James Rowe corner first but could not keep his header down before United missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring in what would have been a controversial moment. Luke Williams cross was headed wide by Pierre Joseph-Dubois only for referee Kinseley to award a corner from which Richard Pacquette was found unmarked at the far post only for his header to clear the Rovers goal.
Louie Soares then had a 20 yard effort that Rovers keeper James Bittner watched wide before the same player played a short corner to Williams who saw his shot blocked straight back to him for a second attempt that went agonisingly wide of the target.
As the break approached Fraser Franks, in the unaccustomed right-back slot, crossed to Pacquette whose view was obscured by Bittner missing the ball and the United striker reacted quickly but headed wide of the left hand upright.
The half closed with a comfortable save by Arnold as James Norwood controlled and hit a first time shot from a Jake Thomson centre.
The start of the second half saw Pacquette replaced by Tom Collins and the home side were soon on the attack. Williams’ shot was charged down but again the ball went back to him, this time his cross was met by skipper Mark Bentley but his header was too high to trouble Bittner.
Norwood volleyed over when set up by a misplaced defensive header and minutes later Rowe latched onto a Curtis Ujah clearance but he also failed to trouble Arnold.
Just after the hour mark the deadlock was broken courtesy of a fine sweeping move from one end to the other by the home side. Ujah won the ball in defence and as it was collected by Bentley, Williams made himself available on the right. He then advanced towards the Forest Green area before picking out Joseph-Dubois who played the ball across goal to where Collins arrived to tuck the ball home from close range.
Rovers were soon on the attack searching for the equaliser. The ever dangerous Norwood fired the ball across the six yard box without a touch before Andy Sandell fired in a free-kick that Arnold did well to push wide.
Thomson then shot weakly at Arnold before a last ditch Franks block denied Kieron Forbes 10 yards from goal. Having held off several Rovers attacks, Hayes & Yeading sprung forwards on 77 minutes as midfield dynamo Williams picked out Collins who raced to the edge of the box only to be denied by Bittner who palmed his drive to safety.
With less than ten minutes remaining, Franks again threw himself in harm’s way to block a Sandell drive before a quick break upfield by United saw the lead doubled. Williams helped the ball to Collins who showed great acceleration to move beyond his marker before reversing the ball across Bittner’s dive and into the Forest Green net (below).
Stoppage time saw a solitary chance for the visitors as substitute Charlie Griffin met a swinging centre but his weak header was comfortably held by Arnold.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Curtis Ujah.
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