A frustating evening against Hayes & Woking in Yeading. Oh, hang on. That’s not right, Im easily confused, sitting on the M25 (not literally) for seemingly decades has affected my brain. The team paid for self inflicted penalty clauses. Still unbeaten, but a golden chance to have a flying start to the season with the opening fixtures was been wasted, injuries or not. Just grateful, we had the pick of the players available in the summer. Otherwise the club would be running around like headless chickens to get players in near the deadline when it beocmes a buyer’s market, the squad never looked stronge enough in the Summer to seriously challange for a title assault. It’s not being wise after the event, we weren’t pro-active enough in my opinion then . We do have some good players, in some cases very good ones but not enough of them.
Now Hayes don’t play at Church Road, the glamour has been taken out of the fixture. Woking seems an odd location for a West London team to play whilst Yeading’s old ground is updated. Wouldn’t Staines, Slough or Maidenhead been a better choice? It’s a funny ground, a massive seated stand behind one goal, with the rest of the ground, an old school football ground, two small seated stands either side of the half way line, a a covered terrace to house the Hayes massive of a dozen and a shallow terrace overlooked by a hideous factory.
Hayes, back to being part time, put up a creditable show but it was a game we should have won. The first half, we played some decent stuff, let down by a poor final ball, some dire defending and of course two missed penalties, admittedly AMS at least converted from the second one. Personally find it amazing that Willmott hasn’t taken any of the recent spot kicks.
He takes most of the set pieces, and is the cleanest striker of the club at the club. The body language of the penalty takers has looked awful, it’s no surprisingly they have all missed, credit to Arnold in goal for makiing two fine saves, but neither Crow or Howells penalty was very good.
Second half was a non event. Hayes happy with the point, sat back and guile, invention, pace, power, passing range were all things missing from the second half performance. It could have got worse, as Osano was asleep ( he’s a fine attacking full back, good athlete, but his defending needs working on ), Wishart waltzed through to squared the ball to the diminitive Williams, Tyler blocked smartly, and then Soares’ strike from the rebound was hacked clear.
It felt like a home game, with 80% ( if not more) from Luton, with Hayes setting out to counter attack, which they did well. Both of their centre halves Bentley and Cadmore ( quite why he has remained there for so long is a mystery) were excellent as was their defensive midfielder Hand. Playing only the much travelled Pacquette on his own as the lone striker, suported by two speed machines Soares and Dubois on the wings.
As for us, we selected the same personnel, formation and subs which featured in the Braintree win. People do moan about the numbers of coaches we have , but in their defence Neilson and Carden’s cone management was poetry in motion, whilst Kharine’s first touch in the keepy uppy knock about between the subs was exceptional.
We started on top, keeping the ball well, but the only chance to show for the bright beginning was AMS’ backward flick ping over the bar from Willmott’s cross. Both the Hayes full backs, Diak and Bayley looked ropey but our balls into the box from wide areas left an awful lot to be desired.
Once again, we conceded the first goal of the game, a quick break down the left, the pacey Soares made inroads down our right, the ball was transfered to the other side to Dubois, given too long to pick our Soares, whilst our defence just watched, Soares continued his run and side footed past Tyler, who didn’t have a chance to save it. Williams, just playing off the front, the amount of space we leave between our defence and midfield is alarming, played the ball through to Pacquette, luckily Osano managed to get around and blocked the drive, we were defending far too deep.
Keane’s forward pass, neat touch and turn by AMS, was about to run towards goal before Hand got a vital foot in. A angled hook by Willmott towards the right, left Crow and Diak chasing the ball towards the box, Crow got there first but Diak hauled him down. Crow got up but saw his low penalty well saved to his right by the tall Arnold.
Despite the scoreline we were still in control, Hayes defended well in large packs and it was difficult to find space to get behind their defence. Willmott motoring through was denied by a well timed tackle by Bentley.
Keane by the byline took advantage of some lax defending by Bayley, allowing Howells to get goalside, then clamoured all over him. Unusally both penalties were taken by the player fouled. Howells went for the power option, but down the middle, and Arnold stood firm to reply the strike, thankfully AMS was on hand, to steer the ball into the find corner.
Our second goal, wa the result of a lovely chipped pass by Lawless, found Crow, running through, rounded the advancing goalkeeper and slotted the ball home into the net.
We didn’t take advantage and press home our advantage , Soares making progess down our right, laying the ball to the overlapping full back Diak, found Williams and he took aim and misfired, wide.
Howells took a whack by Bentley on his knee, which saw the Hayes man cautioned was unable to run over the knock. On came EAA. Keane won a hard 50/50 against Hand, managed to get past Soares, before finding Crow, his attempt sailed wide.
A nightmare moment for Edward, as he failed to rid rid of a routine long free kcik from Saville, he delayed and delayed his clearance, Dubois pinched his pocket , his pass turned in again by Soares to level up the scores. The team performance dropped after Howells’ withdrawal, missing his thrust down the left to aid Willmott.
The second half was a nothing affair, we simply couldn’t get going. The effort was there, but apart from a ten minute spell of pressure, Hayes could comfortably see out the time. Williams pushed a pass through, Antwi produced a splendid tackle on Soares to deny a potential hat trick opportunity.
Watrkins replaced the ineffective Dance, who after a bright start to his Luton career, his performance level has dropped in the past couple of games. With Watkins on, we went back to 4-3-3, with AMS moving to the right and Watkins slotting just behind Crow. Think Brabin missed a trick by not giving Kissock a chance. It was never working in the second half, so why not change it, freshen it up and introduce some new ideas.
Hayes were always a threat on the break, Bayley helped the ball on to Soares, his strike smashed into Osana’s face. A hook across goal by Bentley, gave Saville a chance, flattening Pacquette in process, but his header missed the target.
Keane sprayed the ball wide to Willmott, a better delivery, but Dow thumped over with his header. Willmott nutmegged Crockford, giving Lawless a shooting opportunity, which was fired into the side netting. Keane as well went close, clean strike but unable to keep it down after good patience passing between Osano and Watkins.
It was now a case of now of never, watkins becoming a growing inflouence on the game, toed the ball through to AMS, but Cadmore moved across, to divert the ball for a corner. Lawless pick a lovely low pass for Watkins to turn past the red shirted defence, low drive, half smothered by the on rushing Arniold, the ball continued to trickle goal wards but Cadmoire on the line cleaned.
Our momentum stopped with the arrival of O’Connor for Crow. The fact he kept running offside, just assisted the hosts. Time was ticking down, the recently arrived Wishart got the better of Osano, turning the ball to Williams, but Tyler saved us by making a smart stop, late on was Hayes’ only real chance of the second half, as Beckwith got the better of Pacquette mostly in the air.
Mark Tyler 7, Curtis Osana 5.5 , Will Antwi 6, Dean Beckwith 7, Jake Howells 7 ( Edward Asafu-Adjaye 5), James Dance 5( Adam Watkins 6.5) , Keith Keane 6.75, Alex Lawless 7.5, Robbie Willmott 6.75, Amari Morgan-Smith 6.75 , Danny Crow 6.5 ( Aaron O’Connor).
Subs not used – Edward Asafu-Adjye, Kevin Pilkington .
Hayes & Yeading – Arnold, Cadmore, Bayley, Bentley, John (Saville ), Williams, Hand, Crockford (Mackie ), Soares, Joseph-Dubois (Wishart ), Pacquette Booked: John, Bayley, Bentley, Hand, Saville