Up to the 82nd minute, it looked like Hayes & Yeading United would be rewarded for their efforts with a hard fought victory over promotion chasing Kidderminster Harriers, but a late three goal blast turned the game on its head and denied Nas Bashir’s men the win.
Bashir, who has signed four players since the turn of the year, welcomed back Luke Williams to the starting line up and selected Phil Walsh, Jordan Rose and Julian Owusu, whilst naming Abdulai Bell-Baggie, yesterday’s signing from Yeovil Town, on the bench.
The game was highly charged for long periods and kept the 1732 crowd on the edge of their seats. United had the first shots on target in the 3rd minute as both Owusu and Louie Soares connected well with shots that were charged down before Rose tried a 20 yard effort which Tony Breeden caught comfortably.
Kidderminster took a while to get going but their first effort at goal did force Carl Pentney into a low save, James Vincent testing the on loan keeper from Luke Jones’s lay off. Then, United broke immediately as Williams collected a pass from Rose, but his volley was straight at Breeden.
The first half chances kept on coming for both sides. Daniel Wishart was dispossessed by Dave Hankin who passed to Callum Gittings and his shot was tipped wide by Pentney at his near post. Then Pentney denied Lee Hendrie at the foot of the same post after a quick break down the left by Jamille Matt.
Inevitably a goal came, and to the joy of the 35 away fans at the opposite end, it was Williams who was to score it. Rose contested the ball in the air following a long Dwane Lee throw in and it dropped to an unmarked Williams who drove his shot low out of Breeden’s reach and into the bottom corner (pictured below).
Almost immediately, Owusu broke clear on the left but Breeden was equal to his low shot. United were dominant at this point and Soares hit the post with a curling shot. After James Folkes retrieved the loose ball his cut back to Yassin Moutaouakil led to a far post ball that was headed clear by Vaughan from almost under his crossbar. Soares kept the ball alive and squared to Williams whose shot curled inches wide of the post.
Kidderminster composed themselves and went close when Hendrie’s mishit shot was deflected wide by the impressive Walsh and when Hankin’s clever reverse pass found Lee Vaughan in the penalty area, his shot fizzed across the goal. Curiously a corner was awarded, but from it, Soares set up a quick break, putting Williams one on one with the last defender. He was able to beat his man but was off balance when he shot and the ball went wide.
After such an action packed first half, the second half might have been expected to have a more settled tone but if anything, the tempo rose even higher. Within minutes of the restart, Owusu dispossessed Hankin and passed to Soares who forced a diving save from Breeden. Then straight away, Harriers broke and Hankin centred for Gittings whose shot was fielded by the crouching Pentney. Pentney also caught Jones’s header from Hankin’s corner but was a spectator as Mickey Demetriou collected Gittings’s lay off and crashed the ball against the bar from outside the area. Gittings then headed narrowly wide from Kyle Storer’s long free kick as Kidderminster were forceful in searching for an equaliser.
United counter attacked incisively. Wishart fed the ball to Williams who laid it off to Lee, his fierce shot beating Breeden and flying inches wide. Then Wishart bamboozled the Harriers’s defence with a mazy dribble which culminated in a low angled shot which Breeden just got enough on to keep it out.
Kidderminster manager Steve Burr could sense that United were again controlling the game and made two changes, bringing on Nick Wright and Daniel Bradley and the two combined straight away with the former crossing to the latter who somehow missed the target with his header right in front of goal. Soon afterwards Wright hit the post with a header from Vaughan’s deep cross and United defenders successfully charged down Matt’s rebound effort.
United looked to be successfully shifting momentum away from the home team as over the following 15 minutes, only a weak Wright effort from long range which Pentney dived to collect was all they had to offer, and Rose wasn’t far off doubling United’s lead with a long range drive after a weak clearance from Breeden was collected by Soares and the former Aldershot winger was able to find his team mate in space.
But the Kidderminster substitutes were to have a major say in turning the game to a positive for their team. Wright collected a short throw in on the left flank and his low bouncing cross was converted by Steve Guinan, his shot spinning past a wrong footed Pentney.
Tempers flared soon afterwards as a large melee broke out, but there seemed to be little sign of the late drama in stoppage time when Wishart underhit a pass back to Pentney and Matt punished the mistake clinically by tapping the ball past the onrushing keeper and into the net.
With United pushing forward for an equaliser, Matt got into acres of space on the break and although he was tackled, the ball ran to the equally unmarked Wright who got through on goal before tapping in the third leaving Hayes & Yeading United with nothing to show for a brave, battling performance.
Report by Nick Bell.
Photo's by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Phil Walsh.