For the first time in three seasons Hayes & Yeading got something from a home tie against Luton Town, courtesy of two first half strikes from Louie Soares which were sandwiched by two goals in as many minutes by the visitors plus yet another two penalty saves from United keeper Steve Arnold.
Nas Bashir’s side got off to the perfect start against title favourites Luton when in just the fourth minute Louie Soares stole in to break the deadlock from close range. Harrison Bayley threaded the ball to Pierre Joseph-Dubois just inside the area on the right, his centre picking out Soares who easily beat keeper Mark Tyler from a few yards out.
This early set-back for the fancied visitors saw them take on a lot of possession without really going anywhere until a throughball to Danny Crow saw Diak John get the wrong side of his man and in attempting to get to the ball he appeared to catch the striker’s heal and stumble into him leaving referee Robinson to point to the spot. Crow himself stepped up to take the kick only to be denied by Arnold who pushed his penalty wide.
Ten minutes later the Arnold was again facing a spot kick after Bayley had bundled over Jake Howells in the area. Howells this time stepped up to take the penalty and once again Arnold saved, this time however the rebound ran kindly to Amari Morgan-Smith who fired past United’s keeper from eight yards to level the game.
The scores were level for just two minutes though as Alex Lawless played a long ball upfield to Crow who calmly collected and rounded Arnold before rolling the ball home to give the Hatters the lead.
Ten minutes of the half remained when United created a good opening moving down the left, Soares sent John away towards the bye-line, his cross picking out Luke Williams who saw his snapshot just clear the crossbar.
Hayes & Yeading got themselves back on level terms in the second minute of first half stoppage time when Pierre Joseph-Dubois dispossessed Luton substitute Ed Asafu-Adjaye, his resultant shot being blocked straight to Soares who netted his second of the game.
The second half saw a more cautious approach with the first real opening coming after the hour mark when a United corner was only cleared as far as Mark Bentley, he lofted the ball back into the mix for Richard Pacquette who got his head to the ball but could not find the target.
Minutes later Crow went close to a second for the Hatters when he watched his glancing header from Robie Willmott’s centre just clear the United goal and then after good approach play involving newly arrived substitute Adam Watkins, Luton skipper Keith Keane hit a 25 yard drive, again just clearing Arnold’s goal.
With chances coming and going for the visitors, Morgan-Smith’s angled shot being intercepted by Tom Cadmore and then a neat chip over the defence by Lawless saw Watkins through on goal, Arnold did well to take the pace of his shot and Bentley did the rest clearing off the line.
Despite the majority of the possession being with the visitors, it was almost game set and match to the home side with just four minutes remaining when Jamie Hand found Daniel Wishart on the left, Curtis Osano slipped and allowed the United man to reach the bye-line, his cut-back falling to Williams who drew a fine save from Tyler with Pacquette seeing his rebound effort blocked by a defender.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Tom Cadmore.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video here. Managers Post Game Thoughts here.