Hayes & Yeading Utd 0 – 0 Wealdstone
0 - 0
Following Monday’s fine win at The Vale over Bishops Stortford expectations had inevitably been raised for this encounter at York Road, Maidenhead, where Hayes currently ground share. But football isn’t like that, each new game constitutes a huge and entirely different battle; the mental psychology of players change, and, most usually, inexplicably to the spectator.
For the first 20 minutes of this Vanarama National League South encounter Stones picked up where they had left off and played some super following football with Scott Davies pulling all the right strings in the midfield. United were on the back foot as Stones pressed relentlessly forward using the width of the large pitch to excellent effect.
Jefferson Louis who started used his muscle power to break through on several occasions but just missed out at the crucial moment and Bradley Hudson –Odoi was causing all sort of problems for the United back line. The vibrant away side’s best and most flamboyant chance came on 12 minutes when Davies 30 yard goal bound free kick was superbly tipped away by United keeper Dan Lincoln.
But that was pretty much as good as it got for Stones in terms of consistent progressive play as United gradually worked their way back into the game as Wealdstone inexplicably fell back into their old ways of dropping too deep and misplacing passes. The home side won a succession of corners but their ability to carve out real goal scoring chances were severely limited by Stones efficient back line that stood firm and tidied up very well.
United’s best chance came when good approach work from the United strikers Elliot Benyon and Ismael Ehui set up a shooting chance for Jake Nicholson but he missed the target from the edge of the box. Stones livened up towards the end of the half and a long Davies throw-in was knocked on by defender to Hudson-Odoi who got his toe to the ball in front of Lincoln but just lofted the ball over. Then a long ball up the slope was controlled neatly by Louis to Matt Ball but he met his volleyed effort on the rise and ballooned over.
The second half lacked any early momentum from both sides as played was characterised by defensive dominance and poor passing at crucial moments. Josh Hutchinson went close from a Louis pass as the ball whistled passed the upright after 55 minutes but chances were few and far between
Substitutions were evitable and both sides used their full quotas. Shaun Lucien and Johnny Wright had almost immediate impact as Stones looked to break the deadlock.
It looked like the home side might snatch all the points deep in stoppage time but sub Josh Scott for Hayes shot wide of North’s far post when well placed. This was typical of the home side’s efforts all afternoon as Jon North did not have a single save to make in the entire 90 minutes
So a point for Stones represents progression as part of their continued rehabilitation – a journey that will no doubt continue to be a roller coaster ride and all the more fascinating and frustrating in equal measure
Wealdstone: North, Urquart, Watts, Parker, Hamblin, Davies, Ball, Godfrey, Louis, Hutchinson, Hudson-Odoi. Subs used : Wright, Lucien, Calcutt. Not used: Corcoran, Bevans.
By Nick DuGard