Mac con­sid­ered quit­ting foot­ball

De­fender tempted to keep go­ing by United boss Babb

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - By Richard War­wick tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­

GARY MacDon­ald thought about quit­ting foot­ball this year be­fore re­turn­ing to Hayes & Yead­ing this sum­mer.

The veteran de­fender had thought about hang­ing up his boots at the end of last sea­son but has been rejuvenated by Phil Babb at York Road.

He has be­come an in­te­gral part of the United team and played again on Satur­day as Ebb­s­fleet, another one of his for­mer teams, ran out 2-0 win­ners de­spite play­ing for an hour with 10 men.

“I was think­ing that last sea­son was go­ing to be my last in the game,” said MacDon­ald. “I wasn’t en­joy­ing it that much and re­ally thought that would be it.

“I joined Slough and had a good pre-sea­son and then the gaffer got in touch and asked me if I wanted to come back.

“I was more than happy to say yes and give it one last swan­song in the Con­fer­ence South.”

Ebb­s­fleet’s Preston Ed­wards was the man to see red on Satur­day.

United were dom­i­nant for the open­ing 30 min­utes be­fore the Fleet keeper was sent off for han­dling out­side the area and Babb be­lieves this helped, rather than hin­dered his op­po­nents.

“For 30 min­utes be­fore their keeper got sent off we were con­trol­ling the game and it looked like it was go­ing to be a good day for us,” said the United boss.

“Peo­ple will look at it and think we should have won as they were down to 10 men, but I’ve found, even at the high­est level, teams that go a man down are more res­o­lute.

“They set up not to get beat and they held out.

“They got a goal and had some­thing to hang on to and hit us on the counter when we were push­ing ev­ery­thing for­ward to try and win the game.”

Charlie Sher­ing­ham, scor­ing seconds be­fore half-time, and An­thony Cook got the goals to se­cure the points for the Kent side.

Babb has strength­ened his squad with striker Cliff Akurang, mid­fielder Louis-Rae Bea­dle and keeper Grant Smith all join­ing this week, while stop­per Alex Lynch has re­turned to par­ent club Wy­combe Wan­der­ers.

Mean­while, bot­tom-of-thetable Weald­stone’s Con­fer­ence South woes con­tin­ued as they also failed to beat a team that lost their keeper.

Scott McGleish gave Gor­don Bartlett’s side the lead at Con­cord Rangers, who then saw stop­per Jamie But­ler have to go off with a head in­jury and, with no re­place­ment on the bench, cen­tre­half Jack Lampe went be­tween the sticks.

But Stones failed to take ad­van­tage and it was the hosts who took con­trol with two goals ei­ther side of the break be­fore Luke Pig­den bagged a sec­ond for the vis­i­tors in in­jury-time.

Bartlett’s men were last night (Tues­day) due to visit third-placed White­hawk and were hop­ing to close the four-point gap that leaves them stranded at the base­ment.

Stones will have the chance for re­venge against Con­cord in a fort­night’s time when The Beach­boys visit The Vale in the FA Cup sec­ond qual­i­fy­ing round.

But be­fore that they host St Al­bans, who are Hayes & Yead­ing’s FA Cup op­po­nents, at the week­end. HE’S still got some way to go, but Chris Moore is still con­fi­dent of hit­ting his 25 goal tar­get for Uxbridge this sea­son, writes Tim Street.

The for­mer Brent­ford striker bagged his fourth of the cam­paign in Satur­day’s 6-0 ham­mer­ing of Bed­font & Feltham in the FA Cup first qual­i­fy­ing round.

His other three have all come off the bench, in­clud­ing a late win­ner against for­mer club North­wood, and a dou­ble to see the Reds through the last round of the cup at AFC Dun­sta­ble.

In fact, Moore started the sea­son as a reg­u­lar bench warmer be­fore play­ing his way back into the side in re­cent weeks.

But the 34-year-old in­sists he is happy to get splin­ters on his back­side and be a su­per sub once more if it helps Uxbridge move away from the South­ern League Cen­tral drop zone.

He said: “I never re­ally set my­self tar­gets, but the as­sis­tant man­ager, Paul Mills, has given me one of 25 goals. He has been giv­ing me a bit of stick, but I reckon I can still do it now I’m fit again.

“I missed the first few weeks of the sea­son as I was not fit after pick­ing up an in­jury in the county cup fi­nal at the end of last sea­son, and then I spent a few games on the bench.

“But me and Choulsey (man­ager Tony Choules) are fine. I was never sulk­ing. I’ll do what­ever I need to for the team.”

Craig Tomkins and Matty Woods bagged a brace apiece too, while Kevin Warner also net­ted, to send Bed­font pack­ing and set up a sec­ond qual­i­fy­ing round tie at Brom­ley on Septem­ber 27.

For Moore, it also meant brag­ging rights over his old pal James Wise, Bed­font’s as­sis­tant man­ager, who he went to Ham­mer­smith School with as a young­ster.

He added: “Wisey had been giv­ing me some stick on Twit­ter be­fore the game after I had tweeted that I’d had a night­mare in our mid­week game against North Green­ford United.”

Mean­while, North­wood were hop­ing to join Uxbridge in the next round last night (Tues­day) when then re-played Bar­ton Rovers fol­low­ing Satur­day’s 1-1 stale­mate, but AFC Hayes are out after they were beaten 3-2 at home against Dave An­der­son’s Har­row Bor­ough.

The trio all re­turn to league ac­tion on Satur­day with AFC Hayes trav­el­ling to Bar­ton Rovers, North­wood vis­it­ing Daven­try Town and Uxbridge at home to Pot­ters Bar.

In the Spar­tan South Mid­lands Premier, Hare­field United, who play AFC Dun­sta­ble tonight (Wed­nes­day), drew 1-1 at Tring on Satur­day thanks to a Ryan Egan goal while Hilling­don Bor­ough lost 3-2 to Dun­sta­ble at the week­end.

Hare­field host Hert­ford Town while Hilling­don visit Cock­fos­ters on Satur­day. Both teams are on the road in the Chal­lenge Trophy first round on Tues­day at Wem­b­ley and FC Brox­bourne Bor­ough re­spec­tively.

n SWAN­SONG: Hayes & Yead­ing veteran de­fender Gary MacDon­ald

Photo by Steve Foster/Weald­stone FC

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