Mac considered quitting football
Defender tempted to keep going by United boss Babb
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