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Hayes & Yeading United 2 Salisbury City 3
THE RESILIENT ten men of Salisbury City clawed on to their half-time lead to open up a three-point gap at the top of Conference South.
Last week’s hero Jamie White coasted the visitors into a two-goal lead with two neat finishes inside twenty minutes – both assisted by Dan Fitchett.
And then Robbie Matthews’ wonder strike put clear daylight between the two sides until Luke Williams grabbed one back a few minutes later.
But despite losing Fitchett to a controversial sending off in the first-half and Kudus Oyenuga squeezing home a stoppage time penalty, the Whites kept their discipline to secure a victory at the Kingfield Stadium.
Boss Darrell Clarke had to improvise as skipper Brian Dutton was out with an ankle injury – so Callum Hart was left to hold the reigns as captain - replaced by last week’s super substitute Robbie Matthews.
And Chris Giles returned to the bench after being out since last March.
Hayes and Yeading’s Williams mustered the best set of opening chances. He had a well-struck effort saved, then set up Kudus Oyenuga who sent a glancing header over the top.
The visitors were living dangerously and were fortunate not to concede when a misplaced pass by Matt Clark fell into the path of Williams, who weaved away from a few yellow shirts before he scuffed his effort.
Against the run of play, Fitchett darted his way down the right wing and picked out the lurking White who dispatched home the opener after 15 minutes.
And the same routine carved Hayes open again and White was on course to double the visitor’s advantage and snap up his seventh goal of the season in the process.
And before Theo Lewis’s floated delivery was met by Matthews at the far post and he used exquisite technique to send home a scorching volley into the top corner, James Clarke rattled the woodwork.
At 3-0 Hayes had a mountain to climb, and although Williams pulled one back it seemed like the points were already Salisbury’s, until a melee struck the stadium, as Fitchett was the victim of a red card for violent conduct on Williams.
Suddenly, the complexion of the game changed and City had to battle on with ten men.
The hosts tried to expose various gaps in the City defence. Oyenuga blazed a good chance into the stands and Tobi Joseph came close.
An embarrassing moment from keeper James Beasant nearly gifted the visitors a fourth when Ryan Brett’s long-range effort nearly squirmed underneath him.
Despite James Clarke fouling Joseph in the area and winning a penalty, which Oyenuga converted, the leaders held on tight to stay at the summit.
Salisbury head to Newport (Isle of Wight) for an FA Cup tie next Saturday.
Whites: Puddy, Udoji, Clarke, Hart (c), Brett, Fitchett, Clark, McPhee, Lewis (Baggridge 85), Matthews, White (Preen 90)
Subs not used: Scott, Giles, Clarke
Scorers: White (15, 20) Matthews (33)
Sent off: Fitchett (43)