Hayes & Yeading United’s last Blue Square Bet Premier fixture of the season ended in a narrow defeat against Stockport County on a wet heavy pitch at Kingfield on Saturday afternoon.
The day started with United's on loan keeper Steve Arnold deservedly picking up the John Colvin Trophy as Supporters' Player of the Year (pictured right) but in the seventh minute it all went a little awry as his goal-kick went straight to Stockport striker Danny Hattersley who advanced and placed the ball perfectly into the far corner of the United net to put the Hatters ahead.
It could have started so much better for United however as the Hatters defence opened up after just 19 seconds. Julian Owusu used his strength to hold off two defenders before rolling the ball to Phil Walsh who saw his side foot effort go tamely to visiting keeper Ian Ormson.
United were to deservedly level in the 15th minute though. Under 18s striker Aristede Bassele, in his first Conference start, collected the ball by the right corner flag, his pass to advancing Dan Spence allowed the right-back to fire in an instant cross. Owusu rose above Ormson to knock the ball down and Piero Mingoia was then quick enough to toe home the ball from a couple of feet (pictured left).
The equaliser strangely seemed to stall rather than fire United a little as the visitors were to be the ones creating chances as the half developed. Sean Newton chipped the ball over Arnold to Hattersley at the far post, his angled header going across the face and wide of the upright.
Sam Sheridan's centre was well slid away by Pelé as Tom Elliott arrived in the centre and minutes later Elliott got his head onto a Newton cross but he was wide of the target.
Six minutes from the break Arnold showed the form that earned him the supporters' accolade prior to kick off. Hattersley was put through against the United keeper, Arnold did well to block his effort with his legs, the ball going to Jon Nolan on the edge of the box, his first time drive being pushed away one handed at the foot of the post at full stretch by Arnold.
Two minutes later the woodwork was needed to keep out Stockport. Sheridan slid the nall to an arriving Nolan at the near post, he nudged the ball past Arnold's dive only for his effort to go unrewarded as the ball clipped the outside of the post and went wide.
As with the first half, United created an opening within seconds of the whistle starting procedings. Arnold kicked the ball clear to the left, Owusu held of a challenge and crossed over the top of Ormson but the ball was slightly too high for Walsh who did get his head to the ball but at full stretch he could not get it on target.
The second half, on a now very heavy uneven pitch, was to be real end of season fare with both sides destiny already decided in previous weeks.
A 55th minute effort from makeshift left-back Daniel Wishart whistled past the Hatters upright after good approach play from Arron Wickham and just two minutes later the visitors hit the United woodwork for a second time. A neat passing advance involving Sheridan, Newton and Danny Whitehead saw the ball played across the field to Nolan, his dipping drive from fully 30 yards going over off the United crossbar.
The final noteworthy action of this season closer came some 20 minutes from the final whistle in the form of a deciding goal for the Hatters.
Andy Halls cross from the right was part cleared in the centre of the United defence, the ball falling to unmarked Hatters skipper Joe Connor on the edge of the box, he clinically picked his spot in the bottom corner to bring United's three year tenure in the Premier division to a close.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Pelé.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video here.