Feb 25 2013 By Guy Martin
Sam Cox Image 2
Hayes & Yeading 2-1 Eastleigh
WINNING ugly is a habit Hayes and Yeading United may need to acquire to turn around their inconsistent season, says caretaker boss Tony O' Driscoll.
They showed all their battling qualities to beat Eastleigh at Kingfield on Saturday, despite having 10 men after Daniel Brathwaite's sending-off on the stroke of half time.
And although moments of quality brought second-half goals for Alasanne N'Diaye and Sam Cox, for much of the match Eastleigh who played the better football, something O'Driscoll did not mind.
“We've tried to be too pretty all season,” he said. “When your back's against the wall you've got to grind out results and we did that today.
“Getting a player sent off before half-time, it's hard against any team but they're high-flyers, talking about getting into the play-offs.”
Eastleigh's attacking threat was evident as early as the fourth minute when striker Craig McAllister struck the bar from close range.
They created the better chances throughout the half and were finishing it the stronger when Brathwaite picked up his second booking for a handball, a decision O'Driscoll felt was harsh.
But the caretaker manager's team-talk and tactics clearly did the trick in the second half as United switched to a 4-4-1 formation and soaked up Eastleigh's attacks, scoring with a rare counter-attack in the 56th minute.
Calum Butcher's cross was initially mis-controlled by N'Diaye, but the unpredictable forward still managed to pick his spot and finish.
Last-gasp defending and a smart save by keeper Brandon Hall kept the lead in tact intact and an unlikely second came from an improbable source, Sam Cox driving in a low shot off the post from 25 yards out in the 68th minute.
It was almost the last time Hayes and Yeading crossed the half-way line, but the two-goal deficit survived until the 85th minute, when Chris Todd scored for Eastleigh after a frantic goal-mouth scramble in which Hall made a remarkable save and the ball came back off the bar.
United's players showed a few nerves before the end but this gave way to immense relief at the final whistle.