A 39th minute Max Hubbard (below left) strike for Hayes & Yeading United was enough to see them to an excellent victory at npower League 2 side Gillingham on Tuesday evening as Simon East’s side reached the second round proper of the FA Youth Cup.
Despite the Gills having the lion’s share of possession, United keeper Luke Daley only really had one save to make the whole game, not that Gills custodian Ashley Bourne had much to do either as both sides defences were definitely on top form.
Little of note happened in the opening twenty minutes with just one real effort apiece. Firstly Gillingham skipper Bradley Dack got his head to a Stephen Butcher cross only to miss the goal by some distance, and minutes later at the other end a mazy run by United top scorer Aristede Bassele culminated in a 20 yard shot that was well blocked by Gills Oliver Lee.
In the 25th minute a combination of Elliott Legg and Leonel Da Goma saw the impressive Ashley Miller halted illegally on the left side just outside the area. Jakob Hessenthaler fired in the free-kick that seemed to fly across the United area without a touch but a corner was awarded. This thankfully came to nothing.
Seven minutes before the break Gills left-back Jack Parter advanced having won possession 30 yards from goal but his hurried shot was wide of Daley’s far post.
Less than a minute later the deadlock was broken when Bassele played the ball to Legg on the right, the full-back racing past Parter before hitting a low centre that Max Hubbard volleyed past Bourne from close range to give United the lead.
Two minutes later a surge into the United area by Nathan Nyafli saw the Gills man slightly overrun the ball and despite stretching could only toe it wide of the target and the half closed without further incident.
The Gills were out of the blocks quickly in the second half and just four minutes in Nyafli met a cross from the right only for Legg to divert his header away for a corner. The kick was played to Butcher who crossed low to Dack but his effort was again wide of the target without troubling Daley.
Minutes later Miller ran at the United goal only to be denied a shot by a well timed Da Goma challenge that put the ball out for a corner. Hessenthaler’s kick being confidently claimed by Daley.
United’s first forwards push of the half saw Bassele advance before hitting a left foot shot from the edge of the area that sailed high into the stand beyond Bourne’s goal.
Seventeen minutes remained when a free-kick was awarded to the Gills on the left. Hessenthaler swung the ball into the middle of the United area, Kane Haysman rose highest but could not keep his header down and the ball just cleared Daley’s crossbar. Seconds later Daley made his only real “save” of the game when he comfortably swallowed Gills substitute Dylan Ford’s angled shot from the corner of the box.
Bassele, who had been injured some ten minutes earlier, was replaced on 75 minutes by Lewis Cole but still United struggled to get anything going in the forward department, they did however look as solid as ever at the back.
Late efforts by Miller, Jake MacKenzie and Ford all failed to test Daley and the United players, coaches and supporters alike left the Priestfield Stadium in buoyant mood after an excellent victory that sees a second round visit to Thurrock on the horizon.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ron Gilbey.
United Man of the Match: Andrew Dean (above right).