Despite Manager Paul Hughes fielding an experimental Hayes & Yeading line-up this evening, the unbeaten start to the season was stretched to 13 games in all competitions as United edged Southall by the odd goal in three at the Robert Parker Stadium.
Debutant United 'keeper Jack Hopwood was first into action in the tenth minute as former United striker Lewis Putman hit a low drive that Hopwood did well to push away to safety.
A few minutes later United went close as a right side cross was headed away but only as far as another debutant in the form of central defender Fabrice Mbola, his header beating former United stopper Rourke Pickford before coming back to safety off the post.
The lead for United was only a minute away though as Omar Rowe picked up possession 20 yards out and curled a shot that Pickford will be disappointed to have let through and the ball nestled in the far corner of the Southall net.
The home side looked to put things right immediately with Putman hitting a dipping volley that was tipped over at full stretch by Hopwood. The corner came across the United box and was cleared but the ball was quickly fed to Southall right-back Darreon Mark who in attempting a deep cross managed to deceive Hopwood and the ball flew over his head into the far side of the United net for an equaliser.
Five minutes later Hopwood did well again, firstly a Luke Henneghan free-kick was volleyed goalwards by Putman only to be deflected over by the United defence, the resultant corner was played short to Henneghan and he moved along the bye-line before shooting from a tight angle but Hopwood was equal to it and pushed the shot away.
The final twenty minutes of the half passed at speed without incident and the two sides went in at the break tied up at 1-1.
United were out of the blocks quickly after the interval and within a minute Afo Soyemi-Ololade collected the ball in the Southall area, his shot on the turn being well defended by Joe Clifton who got his frame in the way to block the ball away and then two minutes later the United striker had another opening but this time he was denied by Pickford's outstretched boot.
Still United pushed and on 51 minutes the third debutant, Josiah Bridgeman crossed from the left side, Mbola met the ball with a downwards header that Pickford did well to push wide.
United were to take the lead again in the 64th minute. Rowe played the ball forwards to Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick who worked his way into the area on the left side before feeding Soyemi-Ololade in the middle, the striker firing past Pickford from close range for his second of the season.
With fifteen minutes remaining, a fierce drive by James McCluskey was palmed out by Hopwood who reacted quickly to grab the loose ball and ten minutes later the same player moved his way into the box before being crowded out by the United defence and the danger was averted.
The final opening again came and went for the home side as former United midfielder and Southall skipper Ryan Hope brought the ball forwards and hit a low skidding shot that went just wide of the target and soon after the final whistle blew and United progressed to the second round of the Middlesex Senior Challenge Cup.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Romey Meoded.
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