Hayes & Yeading pulled off the result of Paul Hughes’ tenure by going to National League side Wealdstone and coming away with a deserved 2-0 victory that sees United into the first round proper of the Emirates FA Cup for the second season running.
The gaffer made one enforced change with Adel Gafaiti unavailable, a fit again Keano Robinson returned to the starting XI while another injury returnee, Omar Rowe took a place on the bench.
The home side started quickly with a couple of bursts down each wing, without causing Jack Smith and his defence much concern, the first goalbound effort coming from the Stones in the 10th minute when Alex Dyer crossed from the right, Moses Emmanuel stooped to get a header in but this was easily held by Smith.
Despite being two levels below, it was United who then started to impose themselves on proceedings. In the 14th minute, Jordan Norville-Williams played the ball in from the left picking out fellow wing-back Bay Downing who had arrived unnoticed at the far post, his header was blocked by Stones skipper Jerome Okimo and subsequently cleared.
Another opening for United soon followed as Sanmi Odelusi dived to meet a Scott Donnelly free-kick only for his header to go the wrong side of the upright and just five minutes later a precise Odelusi through ball sent Francis Amartey beyond the defence and on goal, a heavy touch looked to have seen the chance fade but the strikers speed saw him reach the ball before a Grant Smith and courtesy of a decent ricochet he tapped United into the lead with 26 minutes played.
Those of us fortunate enough to be present expected the home side to awaken after this but in truth the only real notable chances before the break went the way of United. Former Stone Jake Sheppard sent Amartey through again on 38 minutes but this time the home defence forced him wider and a Grant Smith was able to save.
Three minutes from the break United were a whisker away from doubling the lead as Karl Cunningham fed Norville-Williams, his low drive crashing back off the upright with the ‘keeper well beaten.
An enforced change at the break saw Omar Rowe return to action in place of Sheppard who picked up a knock in the first half.
United were gifted a further advantage just five minutes after the restart when Jack Williams appeared to be struck off the ball by Stones Charlie Wakefield and after a discussion with the nearby assistant, referee Mr Gill showed the Wealdstone player a straight red card leaving the National League side a goal adrift and a man light.
Shortly after both sides went close with United skipper Liam McDevitt heading a Rowe cross wide of the target and this was soon followed by home skipper Okimo volleying inches wide at the other end.
Just past the hour mark United were to double the lead. Cunningham won possession on the right side before playing the ball square to Rowe, the United substitute picked his spot by placing the ball beyond former United ‘keeper Grant Smith and into the top corner of the net.
Just four minutes later United were once again denied by the woodwork as Cunningham crossed from the left to a fast arriving Downing, the Defenders shot coming back off the upright denying him a goal for the second game running.
At the other end Jack Smith finally saw serious action as the half continued. In the 69th minute the home side worked the ball to Jacob Mendy Mendy who saw his drive from the edge of the box tipped over by the United stopper and a minute later a dangerous cross into the United box saw home players Connor Stevens and Ross Lafayette get in each other’s way and the resultant header went wide.
As the game entered its final 15 minutes the home side started to throw everything at the United back line. Mendy Mendy had a drive superbly blocked by McDevitt and when the loose ball ran to a teammate this effort was again blocked, this time by United substitute Samir Bajja.
Jack Smith then did well to push an angled Daniel Parish shot wide before making an even better stop two minutes later when another shot from inside the box took a deflection that sent it goalbound with the United stopper clawing the ball out with Norville-Williams on hand to clear the danger.
The 89th minute saw Jorome Slew with the ball inside the six yard box only for his shot to be superbly blocked out by a combination of Jack a Smith and McDevitt while a couple of minutes later the same player headed over when well placed.
The final minute of added time saw United almost add another when Norville-Williams broke away towards the corner flag, after holding off about five challenges he slipped the ball to Amartey who tried his luck from a tight angle but the shot was blocked wide by Grant Smith and referee Gill ended the game handing United a famous FA Cup victory over our most senior neighbours.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Liam McDevitt.
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