Hayes & Yeading United – The Comeback Kings

Five minutes into the second half of their Blue Square South play-off semi-final at home to Eastleigh, one could have forgiven Hayes & Yeading United supporters for feeling as if they should cut their losses and just go home. Already three down by half-time, a James Mulley own goal had made it 4-0 to Eastleigh, but even the most optimistic of their supporters would have been unlikely to have been able to predict what happened next. Hayes managed to pull two goals back in the first leg, before travelling to Hampshire and winning the second leg 4-0 to send themselves through to the final of the Blue Square South play-offs, where they would go on to play Hampton & Richmond Borough, who had beaten the pre-season promotion favourites Chelmsford City in their semi-final, at Hampton’s Beveree. A crowd of over 3,000 packed into Beveree for the final, and Hayes took an early lead after Dale Binns crossed for Scott Fitzgerald to score from close range. The rest of the first half passed largely without incident, but the second half more than compensated for this. Four minutes, Shaun McAuley levelled for Hampton and, with twenty minutes left to play, disaster struck for Hayes. Their goalkeeper Delroy Preddie had successfully claimed a cross and wandered out to the edge of his own penalty area. He put the ball down to clear...

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