Disappointing Boro held again
Hayes & Yeading 1 Stevenage Boro 1 A wonderful second half save from Chris Day preserved a point for Boro against Hayes & Yeading at Church Road on Tuesday evening. With both sides locked at 1-1, the former Millwall man made a fantastic save to deny Uni
Hayes & Yeading 1 Stevenage Boro 1
A wonderful second half save from Chris Day preserved a point for Boro against Hayes & Yeading at Church Road on Tuesday evening.
With both sides locked at 1-1, the former Millwall man made a fantastic save to deny United striker Scott Fitzgerald what would have been the winner although Boro once again flattered to deceive against a newly-promoted side.
Hayes & Yeading had the better of a first period in which Boro struggled to find any kind of rhythm going forward and when a piece of Andy Drury magic gave Stevenage the lead it looked to have settled Graham Westley's side.
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But just after the hour-mark Danny-Allen page was allowed the freedom of the penalty area to slot home after the dangerous Dale Binns had manufactured some space down the left.
Boro had chances to win it late on but, in truth, it would have been harsh had United emerged with anything less than a point.
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The Hayes & Yeading defence were caught far too high up the field in the third minute allowing Andy Drury to release Mitchell Cole in behind.
However, United skipper Tom Cadmore made sure the 23-year-old couldn't exploit his pace by hauling him down from behind with the defender lucky not to be cautioned.
Drury took the free kick 25 yards from goal and managed to get the ball up and over the wall but it drifted just wide of United 'keeper Simon Overland's right-hand post.
But this was about as good as it got for Boro in the first half as Hayes and Yeading started to take control.
Tricky winger Dale Binns worked a good opening down Boro's right flank in the fifth minute before delivering a cross for Robert Gradwell at the back post but his looping header dropped just the wrong side of the post.
Gradwell came even closer shortly after when Scott Laird didn't close down United full-back Danny Allen-Page and his low cross was met by the striker at the near post but Chris Day made a fantastic reflex save to keep Boro on level terms.
Boro boss Graham Westley was clearly frustrated at his side's lack of composure on the ball with the distribution from the back leaving a lot to be desired at times.
On one of the few occasions Boro threatened in the first half they should have taken the lead when Charlie Griffin found a yard of space inside the United penalty area but the ball would not sit down quickly enough for him to get a strike off and the danger was snuffed out.
Drury, so often the man to make Boro tick, was struggling to get into the game having been handed a licence to roam while Cole was also starved of any service down the left flank.
Boro's first half frustration was summed up when Darren Murphy was booked for needlessly kicking the ball away as that streak of indiscipline in the Irishman, seen on occasion last season, reared its head.
After a few stern words from the Boro management at half time, Boro came out a different side and in the 49th minute they took the lead.
Boro were given a free-kick in the Hayes and Yeading half and, while the home side complained, Lawrie Wilson played it quickly to Drury.
The former Lewes man had finally found the space he craves but there was still plenty to do as he picked the ball up 35 yards from goal.
Drury proceeded to dance through the United defence, beating at least three defenders, before finishing crisply with a low left-footed shot that beat Overland at his near post.
Confidence flowed through Westley's men as they finally started to fulfil some of the promise seen during the pre-season wins over Brighton and Southend United.
But United hung in there and got back on level terms against the run of play just after the hour-mark.
Binns got free down the left hand side and pulled the ball back for Allen-Page, who had been inexplicably left unmarked and had the simple task of side-footing past Day from just outside the six-yard area.
United rediscovered the attacking rhythm they found in the first half and should have taken the lead but for a magnificent save from Day in the 71st minute.
The former Millwall man first parried Adam Green's long range effort but the ball ran into the path of Fitzgerald who seemed to have the simple task of tapping home to give his side the lead.
But Day sprung to his feet and tipped the striker's effort over the bar and demonstrate why he is considered one of the best goalkeepers outside the Football League.
Boylan had a decent chance to get the winner when he latched on to a Stacy Long ball over the top but the former Cambridge man fired over from a tight angle.
Yemi Odubade then went within a whisker of bagging a winner at the death but he fired just over from the edge of the penalty area after being teed up by Laird.
Hayes & Yeading (4-4-2): Overland 6, Allen-Page 8, Cadmore 7, Ruby 6, Green 7, Cochrane 6, El-Abd 7, Marwa 6 (Mulley 71), Binns 7, Gradwell 6 (Daly 60), Fitzgerald 6. Subs not used: Canham, James, Preddie.
Stevenage Boro (4-4-2): Day 8, Henry 6 (Long 78), Bostwick 6, Roberts 7, Laird 6, Wilson 7, Murphy 6, Drury 6 (Odubade 83), Cole 6, Boylan 6, Griffin 6 (Vincenti 83). Subs not used: Bayes, Ashton.
Referee: J Farries (Oxfordshire)