Hayes & Yeading’s pre-season campaign continued with a visit to picturesque Thatcham Town on Tuesday evening and Manager Paul Hughes took the opportunity to rest some of his key senior players to give others a chance to show themselves.
United were to go two goals ahead within the first five minutes however it could have been different had the hosts first minute shot from inside the United box not firstly been blocked before the United defence took the sting out of the follow up and Jack Smith held on comfortably.
A minute later United struck first, a quick throw-in on the left found its way to Francis Amartey, the United striker took the ball into the area before finishing low past the home ‘keeper.
Two minutes later United almost had number two when skipper for the night Sanmi Odelusi won possession in midfield and fed the ball forwards to Dylan Kearney who saw his effort deflect wide off a well-timed defensive intervention. Just a minute later though United had number two when the ball was threaded forwards to one of the night’s trialists, Charlie Lawrence, and as Amartey had done earlier he moved into the box and fired low past the home custodian.
In fairness to the home side going two down so early did not dampen their efforts and without really troubling the United goal they did string together a number of attacks of potential, especially down their right side however the only other notable chance of the half came ten minutes from the break when a break started by Jack Williams on the United left as he played the ball forwards to Rico Greco who in turn fed Amartey, the striker’s shot being parried by the ‘keeper and cleared for a corner. The corner kick was met by Callum Buckley but his effort was just too high.
The start to the second half was almost as explosive as the first with United taking just 54 seconds to add a third. A cross chipped in from the right corner of the box was helped on by Karl Cunningham with Amartey arriving at the far post to smash the ball home for his second of the game.
The home side from being stung came out fighting and Jack Smith had to be at his best on 48 minutes as the hosts found space inside the left corner of the United box, a quick turn of his marker saw a low shot hit that was going into the bottom corner only for Smith to react quickly to tip the ball around the post.
Three minutes later a free-kick was played in from the left with the home skipper getting his head to the ball, Smith again being required to push the effort wide for a corner kick that the United defence dealt with easily enough.
Still before the hour mark Smith was again needed as a free-kick conceded centrally just outside the box was hit goalwards, dipping at the last minute forcing the United ‘keeper to tip the ball over the top and again his defence dealt with the corner.
Twenty minutes from time Amartey was denied a hat-trick when having chased the ball into the home box, he left his marker on the deck and faced goalwards, his low driven effort being well saved by the home ‘keepers outstretched boot. Four minutes later he was again denied, this time he moved onto a Cunningham throughball but struck the ball straight into the ‘keepers chest and the loose ball was again cleared.
A short time later Jack Williams raced from left-back onto a long pass down the left, his first time cross dropped nicely to Jamie Hanlon who connected sweetly only for his volley to just clear the Thatcham goal from 20 yards out. Minutes later Hanlon again went close as he reached a chipped Amartey centre at the far post, only for his effort to go the wrong side of the upright.
Both sides had a chance in the dying moments, the home side again winning a central free-kick just outside the United box, this time Smith was not required as the dipping effort was too high and then at the other end the ‘keeper did well to push away a driven shot and the game closed out with a 3-0 scoreline and a good workout for Paul Hughes’ side.
We thank Thatcham Town for their hospitality and wish them well for the coming season.
Report by Kevin Watts.