Hayes & Yeading ended their league campaign in a respectable 7th place following a comfortable away victory in Wales at the Met Coaches stadium thanks to another hat-trick from Moses Emmanuel.
Paul Hughes squad being down to its bare bones with this being the fifth game in eight days, made six changes to the starting XI from Thursday night’s trip to Devon with young Steve Ngunga keeping his place after spending the bulk of the season away on dual registration.
The Martyrs had the first chance of the game through Tom Handley who blazed his free-kick from a good position well over the bar and on ten minutes for United Moses Emmanuel fired wide when well placed.
Minutes later at the other end, Ricardo Rees broke through and with Jack Smith off his line, almost took advantage with a lobbed effort which eventually dropped onto the top of the goal netting.
United had many half chances with nothing to write about, the next notable chance of the game came through Emmanuel who after a scrappy clearance from the Merthyr defence on the line the ball eventually found the feet of the United striker who from a tight angle forced Will Fuller in the hosts goal to parry his effort wide.
Adam Liddle tested Fuller from range but his effort was tipped over the bar. An unmarked Jerry Wiltshire was picked out from the resulting corner but his firm header at goal was caught comfortably by Fuller.
On 38 minutes Smith was alert to keep the scores level, denying Merthyr captain Liam Angel with a fantastic save on the line keeping out the defenders shot.
The breakthrough for the visitors came on 41 minutes when Emmanuel beat the sliding Merthyr defence for pace, despite being fouled referee Mr Fudge played a good advantage and the United striker stayed on his feet to drive forward and beat Fuller one-on-one.
The home side looked to get level almost immediately when Owen Brain cut inside but could only find the side netting of Smith’s goal with his effort and United went in a goal ahead at the break.
With just three minutes on the clock in the second half, Steve Ngunga had an opportunity to extend the lead but his curling effort went just wide and with play immediately switching, Lewis Powell fired straight at Smith from just outside the box.
Brain fired over for the hosts before Emmanuel eventually doubled United’s lead, grabbing his second of the afternoon in the 54th minute with a composed finish after being played through on goal.
Just past the hour mark, good play from Liddle allowed Cole Brown to run forward with the ball and from range he forced Fuller into a fingertip save and then minutes later it was the turn of Smith to maintain United’s two goal cushion as he did well to keep out a fierce drive from Jamie Adams.
With fifteen minutes left on the watch, Merthyr had a chance to get back into the game from a brilliant Powell cross but nobody could get on the end of it and the danger went away.
In the final ten minutes, a good interchange between Hassan Jalloh and Liddle found Emmanuel in the box, he was held up after controlling the ball only to eventually be dragged down by Tom Handley with referee Fudge pointing to the spot. Emmanuel sent Fuller the wrong way from 12 yards for his tenth goal in five games during the final eight days of the campaign.
The hosts grabbed a late consolation two minutes from time when Rees beat Smith from just outside the area with a curling effort that flew into the far corner of the United net but this was not enough to deny United maximum points on the final day as Hayes & Yeading end the campaign with a first County Cup victory and seventh place in the table after a hectic five games in eight days.
Report by Corey Eaton-McKnight.
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