Blues leave it late in FA Cup victory at Hayes
Hayes & Yeading United 1 Wycombe Wanderers 2
A stoppage-time winner from Gareth Ainsworth dashed brave Hayes' dreams of FA Cup glory and secured Wycombe's place in the second-round after a hard-fought battle at Church Road.
Manager Gary Waddock showed the competition the respect it deserves by naming the same team that won 2-0 at Gillingham on Tuesday and the Blues lined up as follows:
Foster Winfield Westwood Sandell
Ainsworth Montrose Davies Betsy
Beavon Strevens (Rendell 81)
Wycombe may be the side who still have an interest in tomorrow's second-round draw, but with a little more composure in front of goal it could easily have been Hayes & Yeading celebrating tonight.
The Blues started brightly with the obvious intention of playing their normal passing game, but within minutes they were sucked into a good old fashioned cup battle against a United side who created most of the clear-cut chances in the first half.
An early long-range effort from Bradley Pritchard was easy enough for Blues' keeper Nikki Bull to deal with, but moments later he had to be alert and brave to charge off his line and thwart Jake Hyde in a 50-50 challenge.
Hayes' nippy little number 17 Andy Yiadom was causing all sorts of problems for the Blues' defence and after ten minutes he came very close to opening the scoring with a fierce shot that flashed just over the crossbar.
Peter Holmes was next to try his luck from distance, forcing Bull into a fine save just moments before Pritchard had another go - this time firing his shot narrowly wide.
It wasn't that Hayes were enjoying most of the possession because they weren't - they were just using it more effectively than a Wycombe side who always seemed to take one touch too many.
The Blues were slowly maneuvering themselves into shooting positions, only to find their intentions had been read by a Hayes' defence who threw themselves in front of the ball to make a series of crucial blocks.
Wycombe's first decent effort came after 21 minutes when a superb 35-yard volley from Gareth Ainsworth was turned round the post by Hayes' keeper Lee Harrison.
The resulting corner saw Andy Sandell head the ball narrowly wide, and that signalled a barren spell for both sides with no more clear-cut chances before the break.
The second-half was only a few minutes old when Kevin Betsy created an opportunity for himself but scuffed his shot. Hayes then missed a chance themselves when Yiadom fired one over the bar from a tight angle.
It continued that way, with Stuart Beavon looping a header just over the crossbar and setting Danny Foster up for a shot, while at the other end, Bull saved at Pritchard's feet and Yiadom wasted a glorious opportunity with a tame shot when he really should have done better.
Beavon had been working like a trojan again. Constantly making lung-bursting runs into space to give his teammates a target, the little striker was also holding the ball up well, bringing others into play at the right time and generally putting in another excellent shift. It was therefore fitting that he opened the scoring after 61 minutes when Hayes failed to clear a ball from the left and he pounced to poke it home.
Ten minutes later it was 1-1 when Holmes' low cross from the right was clinically fired home by Pritchard on the edge of the box.
From the re-start, one of Scott Davies' Hollywood moments almost paid off when his 50 yard shot took the Hayes keeper by surprise and dropped just over the crossbar.
The Blues came close again when an Ainsworth effort hit the woodwork and Ben Strevens couldn't keep the rebound on-target, but there were still a few worrying moments at the other end as the home side sensed the opportunity for an upset, but couldn't quite grasp it.
Then with over four minutes of stoppage time played, Scott Davies' corner led to a goalmouth scramble and Ainsworth tucked the ball home to win the tie.
Wheeling away in celebration, Ainsworth headed for the ecstatic Wycombe fans, hand cupped to his ear as he passed a section of home support who had been singing uncomplimentary songs about him only moments earlier.
There was just time for kick-off before the final whistle sounded and several Hayes' players sunk to their knees in disappointment. It's a cruel game sometimes and you had to feel sorry for them. They gave as good as they got and this game could have gone either way.
Special Mention - Gareth Ainsworth
Man of the Match - Stuart Beavon