Paul Hughes’ Hayes & Yeading side made the short trip to Honeycroft to face neighbours Uxbridge in a pre-season friendly that finally saw a return of spectators to the terraces.
The game came to life almost immediately with United almost notching in the second minute only for the Reds to race straight to the other end to open the scoring. For United, Francis Amartey did well to win possession, his low centre just evading the sliding Dylan Kearney in the box. The hosts quickly fired the ball to Callum Bunting at the other end and he fired beyond the reach of United stopper Renell McKenzie-Lyle into the far corner.
Another chance at each end came forth in the fifteenth minute, this time it was the hosts first as a free-kick played into the box fell nicely to Bunting, his drive deflecting onto the inside of the post before being grabbed by the McKenzie-Lyle who immediately sent the ball forwards, Scott Donnelly collected on the left and picked out Joe Grant in the middle but his powerful header was just wide of Tyler Tobin’s goal.
Chances seemed to dry up somewhat until a brace came United’s way in the closing minutes of the half. Donnelly’s corner kick was neatly laid back to United’s Charlie Lawrence but his effort was fielded by Tobin.
As the half closed out a final chance for United saw Rowe leave George Fenton treading treacle as he raced away down the left, his centre was controlled by Kearney who saw his volley clear the goal and United went in at the break a goal adrift.
It however took United just 9 seconds of the second half to draw level as a purposeful chip forwards to Rowe direct from the re-start saw the United man hold off two defenders before tucking the ball past Tobin into the corner.
The equilibrium was only present for ten minutes however as on 55 minutes the hosts scored again. Bunting collected the ball inside the United box and laid it back to a trialist teammate who hit a curling shot from the edge of the box that sailed perfectly into the corner of the United net.
The real notable chances from there onwards fell to the visitors. Just before the hour mark a deep Rowe corner was met by Danny Pappoe, his downward header bouncing over the Reds goal.
Five minutes later Pappoe and Rowe combined to send Grant through on the right of the Reds box, his efforts being bravely blocked wide by Tobin who was helpless on 71 minutes as Bay Downing was played into the box in a similar position and he fired the ball between Tobin’s legs to level at 2-2.
What was to become the crucial fifth goal came just four minutes later. A clearance by the hosts was headed back towards their goal by Pappoe, Kearney collected just inside the box and as he tried to turn past Reds skipper Calum Duffy the United striker was dragged to the ground and a spot kick was awarded. Donnelly took the ball and fired confidently past Tobin to give United the lead for the first time.
The game was seen out with United having at least three sixteen years olds on the pitch with the gaffer giving more time to United’s up and coming under 18’s.
I would like to thank Uxbridge for the excellent and professional way they ensured supporters could finally see some live action and wish them all the best for the new campaign.
Report by Kevin Watts.
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