Diamonds were beaten on their return to action at Hayden Road on Tuesday night thanks to a single 44th minute strike by their impressive visitors.
The first half was an even affair between two in form sides. The visitors were positive from the off but were kept to some promising midfield play as Diamonds had to adapt to an early change when Jack Ashton had to be replaced by Blaize Punter in just the 10th minute. Chances were limited in the early stages with Mentis threatening for Hayes and Yeading and Joel Gyasi and Luke Fairlamb for Diamonds. Ben Heath saved well from Duku and Ryan Robbins and Tom Lorraine came close to converting headed chances for Diamonds. The breakthrough finally came for the visitors in a frantic final 5 minutes of the half. Mentis had two great shooting chances for Hayes and Liam Dolman headed over for Diamonds before Laste Dombaxte picked up loose ball on 44 minutes and fired low past Ben Heath from the edge of the box.
Diamonds came out at the start of the second half with the increased intensity they needed to get back into the game. Joel Gyasi had an early shot that stinged the keeper’s fingers and dangerous crosses from Luke Fairlamb, Ben Farrell and hour mark sub Ross Outlon all came close to creating the killer chances. On 69 minutes they came incredibly close with Ryan Robbins hitting the post after good work again by Ross Oulton. Ben Farrell volleyed just over minutes later as Diamonds pressed hard but the occasional missed pass or missed control impacted the momentum they were trying to build.
Fairlamb nearly found another sub Callum Westwood with a great ball that produced a corner from which Liam Dolman had a half-chance just cleared. As Hayes tried to see the game out their keeper made a quite brilliant save from a Callum Westwood effort that seemed bound for the top corner. A series of corners built pressure with Hayes at full stretch to keep them at bay and free-kicks were being conceded by some desperate challenges. But Hayes held with some solid defending for a well-earned point to complete the double over Diamonds without conceding against the table toppers.
Next up for Diamonds another big game against promotion contenders with the trip to Hartley & Wintney on Saturday.
Man of the Match: Jack Westbrook
Match Summary: Paul Judd
****Full Match Report & Stats to Follow****