Road to Wembley 17/18: 1st Qualifying Round

 

Hayes & Yeading 4-3 Maldon & Tiptree

I had free tickets to see the Christmas edition of Live at the Apollo being recorded in Hammersmith on the first Tuesday afternoon in September.
This may sound absurd, but to some Premier League plastic fans, watching F.A. Cup football this early in the season may seem equally strange.
I’d been looking for a replay in West London that evening, and when Maldon & Tiptree and Hayes & Yeading United drew 3-3 on the Saturday, their replay seemed the ideal choice.

It did sound more like a wrestling tag match than a game of football though.

I remember visiting Hayes FC and Yeading FC in the 90’s at two separate grounds. Since then there’s been a lot of changes football wise in this part of London.
I considered United’s new SkyEx Community Stadium to be a new ground, despite it being built on top of Yeading’s old ground, so it necessitated a tick.

There were huge queues to get into Hammersmith Apollo, and once in, Christmas music was being piped out before the show.
Unfortunately we were upstairs, so the view reminded me of watching England the night before in the upper tier of Wembley.

This was just the Hors d’oeuvre of the day for me though, with more F.A. Cup football to come.

After a few pints, and 14 ounces of Aberdeen Angus in Wetherspoons (well it was a Tuesday!) along with my mate Chris, I then headed further west.

I vaguely recollected the locality of the ground, having been to see Yeading before.
It’s at the far end of an industrial estate, where there were a lot of film wagons around, so obviously something was in the process of being shot.

I’d seen pictures of Hayes & Yeading’s stand before, so I knew what to expect. The rest of the ground has no other furniture, other than toilets behind each goal.
You can walk all around the ground, but there is no terracing, or cover whatsoever.

Considering it’s such a new ground, the P.A. system was awful. There was so much crackling on it, that announcements were barely audible, and the music distorted.

American Pie came on, and it sounded like it really was the day the music died.

The club officials were all very friendly though, and team sheets were freely available.

You could even see the shell of the old Yeading FC stand still standing in the car park behind one of the goals.

Having stayed in Maldon this summer, I felt a twinge of loyalty towards them, but not enough to worry about the outcome of the game.

Hayes & Yeading wore all red, and Maldon & Tiptree all orange.
Thankfully the floodlights were of decent strength not to cause colour clash issues.

The game started with a good pace, and both sides keen to get stuck in. The football was good, with lots of fair challenges going in.

It only took 11 minutes for the deadline to be broken. Hayes & Yeading got the ball into the box, and the ball was drawn back from the byline for Josh Chamberlain, who was running into the box unmarked to slot home.

Rohdell Gordon had a chance to make it two, with a low shot that Maldon & Tiptree keeper Andy Walker saved with his legs.

Suliaman Bah levelled the score just before the half hour. He made United keeper Jack Smith pull off a point blank save, but Bah just notched the rebound.

Smith had an assist in United’s second goal. His long clearance found well travelled striker Rowan Vine, who did well to beat the only defender, and finish past the keeper.

The game had been evenly fought, and end to end, but Hayes & Yeading took a 3-1 lead into the break thanks to Ismael Ehui’s excellent left footed strike into the top left corner.

I wondered how the Jammers would react in the second half. They continued to battle, and had keeper Andy Walker to thank for keeping them in the tie with a great save from a United free kick five minutes in.

Maldon & Tiptree got another one back when Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe finished Ryan Clampin’s cross in the 53rd minute.

The pendulum of dominance turned again in the Jammers favour. It would change many times throughout the night.

The wind and rain started lashing across the pitch just to add to the drama.

Maldon & Tiptree were pushing for the equaliser, and George Keys came close with fifteen minutes to go. Ogedi-Uzokwe’s effort was close, but high and wide a couple of minutes later.

With a minute left the Jammers captain went close with a free kick.

Maldon & Tiptree had equalised in the last minute of time to make it 3-3 and force a replay on the Saturday.
They needed to do it again, and they did!
Three minutes into injury time, Lock had another free kick that hit the post and was then headed into the path of George Forrest to make it 3-3.

In the first half of extra time, Maldon & Tiptree completely dominated, and it looked a case of when, and not if, they would score.

Alfie Rowland had his shot tipped over by the United keeper, who then saved again from Vine and then Kieran Bailey.

In the second extra period the Jammers seemed more tired, and the game looked to be heading to penalties.

With just nine minutes left though, United had a free kick which was headed down to an unmarked Harly Wise who made it 4-3.

It had been an incredible game, with both sides playing some great football.
Penalties would have been fun, but I was glad when it finished 4-3 because I could leave for home before 10.30.

It had been a long day, but great fun.
If the BBC are stuck for stuff to show at Christmas, a video of this game, plus Live at the Apollo would make a great double.

Hayes & Yeading United now face a trip to FC Romania in the next round, in two weeks time. They play at Cheshunt FC which is also where I’ll be that weekend, watching the landlords play on my ‘Road to Wembley’.

I do hope the Hayes & Yeading fans realise.
As I left, they were singing “We’re all going on a European Tour”.

Once again our thanks to Andy Phillips. Please follow him here!

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