Thursday night and I found myself at Church Road, the home of Hayes & Yeading as they played host to Kidderminster Harriers. A very low turnout of just over 300 witnessed a game that was full of incident from the first whistle to the last. For the first time I witnessed a female referee officiating the game and personally she contributed to this game being such a turn off for the loyal spectators from both sides. It was unfair though to hear several sections of the crowd shouting some obscene abuse at her. At one point I heard one fan shout ‘head back to the kitchen’ and that was particularly out of order and left me thinking ‘I bet you couldn’t do a better job than she is at the moment.’
Actually getting to the ground itself was challenging. From the outset, you wouldn’t have noticed the ground as it was hidden amongst a housing estate, so I had to look closely and the only thing that gave it away was a banner on a fence saying ‘Hayes and Yeading Utd.’ But getting home was a complete nightmare. First I was just sitting on the station platform wondering where my train was. Then found out that due to signalling problems trains were severely delayed. Luckily I managed to find a lady who was going to the same station as me, London Paddington and I shared a taxi costing £34! This was certainly a game to remember but for all the wrong reasons.
Hayes & Yeading twice let slip a lead as they drew 2-2 with Kidderminster Harriers in an incident packed game at Church Road. However the game will be remembered for the referee Amy Fearn, who sent off Hayes & Yeading’s two goal hero Scott Fitzgerald after a clash off the ball between Harriers’ Luke Prosser. Resulting in both receiving yellow cards and in the case of Fitzgerald, receiving a second bookable offence, when both players should have really been sent-off.
Hayes & Yeading started the game brightly and applied the early pressure. They could of gone in front inside 2 minutes when a cross by Adam Green on the left missed everyone when any touch would have seen the ball fly into the net. Just a minute later and Hayes & Yeading had another good chance to go in front. A cross on the right by Danny Allen- Page was half cleared by Kidderminster and the ball fell to Adam Green but his shot was easily saved by Ross Atkins in the Harriers goal.
The game was stopped for a short while, after 4th official Peter Georgiou received treatment for an injury but Hayes & Yeading continued to dominate the game and should have been in front just after the half hour mark. A corner on the right was taken by Adam Green and it was met by captain Tom Cadmore who’s header was cleared of the line by the Kidderminster defence.
With 7 minutes added at the end of the first half, Hayes & Yeading finally got their reward for their dominance. Another corner was met by Tom Cadmore and although his header was cleared the ball fell to Scott Fitzgerald who made mistake to give Hayes & Yeading a one goal lead going into half time.
After the break, Kidderminster managed to come into the game and maybe should have had a penalty. Darryl Knights seemed to have been pulled back in the box but his appeal was turned away as referee Amy Fearn decided to award a free-kick the other way. However Kidderminster were level soon after. A cross by substitute Duane Courtney was met by Chris McPhee and although his first shot was saved by Clark Masters, he made no mistake on the rebound and slotted the ball home from two yards. Kidderminster began to dominate and could have been in front but Tom Cadmore’s last gasp challenge on Dean Bennett prevented the Harriers player being one on one with the Masters in the Hayes & Yeading goal.
But Kidderminster didn’t make their dominance count and Hayes & Yeading went back in front. A throw-in on the left fell to Scott Fitzgerald on the edge of the box and he chested the ball down and his volley gave Ross Atkins no chance in the Harriers goal.
On 78 minutes though, an off the ball incident between Scott Fitzgerald and Luke Prosser saw both players receive a yellow card and in the case of Fitzgerald it was his second yellow and he was sent off.
Kidderminster took advantage of this and within 3 minutes they were level. A corner by Darryl Knights found the head of defender Martin Riley and his header flew into the net.
Kidderminster continued to press with the one-man advantage, looking for the winner but Hayes & Yeading held on for a deserved point.
Hayes & Yeading: Masters, Cadmore, Ruby, Harris, Green, Allen-Page, Cochrane (Watkins 90+3), Canham, Marwa, Fitzgerald, Wishart (Mulley 62).
Subs Not Used: Baker, Stolcers, Webb.
Kidderminster Harriers: Atkins, Sharpe (Courtney 45), Riley, Prosser, Baker, Kerry (Matthews 77), Bennett (Byrne 71), Finnigan, McPhee, Knights, Smikle.
Subs Not Used: Singh, Lawrie.
Man of the Match- Adam Green (Hayes & Yeading)
It was a difficult decision but I had to award Adam Green the man of the match. The left back was a threat with his runs forward and was involved in both goals scored for Hayes & Yeading. A good performance all round.
The game today left much to be desired for. The first half in particular was something to forget especially with the long stoppage and refereeing decisions that also stopped the play. The second half was more eventful with the referee sending off Scott Fitzgerald when she should have also sent of Luke Prosser. I think the referee’s performance today made the game a real turn off for the fans and this was shown through the abuse towards her. In the end both teams will be happy with a point.