Hayes & Yeading will consider themselves unlucky to have come home from a trip to league leaders Weston-super-Mare on Saturday empty handed as Paul Hughes’ side matched their hosts pretty much stride for stride throughout the game only to be hit with a late winner for the Seagulls.
The gaffer made a single enforced change from the starting XI that beat Metropolitan Police on Tuesday with Amos Nasha coming in for the poorly Hassan Jalloh in midfield.
The hosts showed well early on and with just five minutes played Jacob Cane sent Reuben Reid away in the right channel, Simon Grant rushed out to meet him but the striker moved around the United stopper before firing into the side netting of the United goal from an acute angle and then just a couple of minutes later a nice low centre from Jason Pope was miskicked in front of goal by Marlon Jackson enabling the United defence to clear the danger.
These early chances were all that the table toppers offered until late in the half as United grew into the game and started to create chances of their own. In the 22nd minute Moses Emmanuel collected on the edge of the Seagulls box, turned past Lloyd Humphries but from an angle could only find the side netting.
Two minutes later United were again on the attack as Roger James cut out a weak pass by a Seagulls defender in their defensive third, the United winger playing the ball inside to Taylor Miles who saw his first time shot curl onto the roof of the hosts net.
Openings continued to come for the visitors as the half progressed, James sent Paul Field away on the right flank, his centre was collected by Emmanuel who narrowly failed to hit the target and soon after at the opposite end Grant had to be alert as Humphries tried an audacious drive from virtually the half-way line that the United stopper got well behind to gather.
Luke Purnell in the home goal continued to be the busier of the two ‘keepers as we hit the final ten minutes of the half. Firstly he comfortably held an Amos Nasha shot after he had been set up by Emmanuel and soon after Emmanuel himself collected the ball on the edge of the box, turned past Sam Avery and fired for goal only to be denied by Purnell who pushed his effort away to safety.
As the half closed out, Liddle set up Emmanuel but he could only find the side netting once more then a quick break to the other end saw the best chance of the half as Jason Pope raced clear only to see his shot deflected away by Grant’s outstretched boot and the two sides went in goalless at half-time.
The second half sadly for United was to see the visitors start to dominate possession however the visitors goal was rarely threatened during this time with the United defence in particular dealing with all that was thrown at them pretty much with good chances few and far between.
On the hour the hosts bench was reduced in numbers when the referee took umbridge at something that was said and a red card was shown to one of the Seagulls management team.
The first opening of the second period in fact didn’t come until past the hour mark when Jackson collected a pass 20 yards from the United goal, his well struck shot was marginally too high and Grant calmly watched it fly over the top of his goal.
In the 67th minute the hosts were a whisker away from breaking the deadlock when a deeply played free-kick from the left was met by Jackson who climbed highest at the far post, his header going across the face of the United goal before coming back into play off the upright with United clearing the ball away to safety.
Just before the final ten minutes of the game, Olly Mehew broke into the United box only to be denied a strike at goal by a superb Field tackle that saw the ball out for a corner. The initial corner was played behind for another by the United defence and this was to prove pivotal as Grubb fired another one in, Avery bundled the ball home and while the referee’s assistant initially appeared to raise his flag for I can only assume a foul, the referee chose to override this and a decisive goal was awarded.
Despite a brace of United corners in the dying embers, the Seagulls excellent back-line held out and it was a fruitless trip for United, this being the first time we have failed to score in a league game since Weston visited the SKYex in September!
Report by Kevin Watts.
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