Hayes & Yeading retained their proud record of always making at least the second round qualifying of the FA Cup with a hard fought victory over Chertsey Town at the SKYex thanks to late strikes from Sam Ashton and Omar Rowe after Sam Ompreon had spectacularly put the visitors ahead.
A combination of departures, injuries and a suspension gave the manager a real headache in team selection for this fixture with several changes being made from the side that managed a point at Hanwell on Monday afternoon.
One of those coming into the starting line-up, Sean O’Brien, was the first to try his luck in just the seventh minute as he fired goalwards from 20 yards but his effort whistled inches wide of the upright.
Just a couple of minutes later at the opposite end Jacob Adams had to be alert as Chertsey skipper Luke Robertson tried his luck from distance, his effort stinging the gloves of the United stopper who palmed the ball away as far as former United trialist Sam Ompreon who saw his effort again blocked away by Adams.
With 20 played it was the ‘keepers fingertips at the other end that stopped United opening the scoring as Paul Field, in his first game back after injury, found Sam Ashton on the right corner of the Curfews area, his angled shot aiming for the far corner being tipped wide by Nicholas Jupp in the visitors goal.
Just before the half hour mark, former United legend Toby Little moved across the United area and was adjudged by referee Howlett to have been tripped by Tarik Moore-Azille and a penalty was awarded to Chertsey. Former Hanwell striker Gareth Chendlik stepped up only to be denied by Adams who saved well and then did even better to regain his poise to save the follow-up from the same player as well.
32 minutes had been played when United went close once more, this time Jamie Hanlon fed the ball to Steve Ngunga, the diminutive winger shooting from 20 yards only to see his effort beat Jupp but come crashing back off the post to safety.
A chance apiece remained in the time left before the break, Wayne Ridgley and Chendlik combined for the visitors to set up a shooting chance for Ompreon but he fired weakly straight at Adams while at the other end two minutes later a free-kick from 20 yards out was taken by Sean O’Brien who beat the wall only for Jupp to dive full stretch to push his effort away and the half closed out goalless.
The second half was to be more open than the first with both sides looking to avoid a replay and make it through to the next round at the first attempt.
Again the first opening came the way of the home side in the 51st minute as O’Brien’s cross from the right side picked out Hanlon at the far post but the 19 year-olds volley was wide of the target.
Five minutes later O’Brien was again in the thick of the action, he fed the ball to Ashton inside the Chertsey area, he in turn found Rowe who saw his shot blocked back to O’Brien but his effort was too high to trouble Jupp.
Just past the hour mark Rowe tested the visiting stopper who gathered his drive at the second attempt and then just three minutes later the deadlock was broken against the run of play by the visitors as a long punt up field saw Adams race from his goal before halting his run in the knowledge he wasn’t getting to the ball first, unfortunately this left him in no mans land as Ompreon fired over his head first time into the vacant United net from 35 yards.
With fifteen left to play the visitors almost had another, Chendlik saw a shot blocked by the United defence with the ball dropping nicely to Ollie Khinda, his shot being well defended by skipper Sanmi Odelusi who headed the ball over his own crossbar.
Five minutes later United were level. Rowe again the catalyst for a United attack, the midfielder racing away on the right before cutting inside, his shot was deflected by the visitors defence but only to the far post where Ashton arrived to fire in his fifth United goal of the season in six games.
Three minutes later United had the lead courtesy of that man Rowe as he collected the ball on the left and danced his way through a number of challenges before firing past Jupp in the Chertsey goal.
United continued to push for another as soon after substitute Ayo Faniyan held the ball up well before sending O’Brien through, Jupp doing well to stick out a boot and deny the United man a first goal.
Into stoppage time we moved and in the first minute with the Curfews pushing for an equaliser Khinda received the ball centrally 12 yards from the United goal however as he went to pull the trigger he was denied a shot by a superbly timed and brave block from United substitute Lene Burden who threw himself in front of the midfielders shot.
A minute later in what seems to be all too familiar fashion this season, United were reduced to ten men when Jerry Wiltshire was surprisingly given a second yellow card for climbing to head the ball clear.
Within sixty seconds, despite being a man light United should have killed the game off as Faniyan raced away down the left before cutting the ball back from the bye-line to O’Brien who with the goal at his mercy sliced his effort wide when a goal would have capped a fine performance from the United new boy.
As additional time closed out, Adams saved easily from Gianluca Botti and Robertson headed a corner well over the bar and as the final whistle blew it was United who will be in the hat Monday for the second round qualifying draw once again.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Omar Rowe.
Photos by Anthony Mills.
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