Critical fixtures ahead for United
PAUL Hughes has vowed to keep the pressure off his Hayes & Yeading players ahead of a potentially season-defining period, writes Jon Batham.
United’s 1-0 loss to Hughes’ old club Kings Langley on New Year’s Day, having let a 2-0 lead slip to lose 3-2 to Slough Town four days earlier, leaves them rooted in the bottom three of the Southern Premier ahead of Sunday’s home game with Cambridge City, one of the two clubs below them.
With basement boys Cinderford due to visit the following Saturday, it appears vital United take advantage to climb the table.
Hughes though, sounded a note of caution. “Cambridge and Cinderford are absolutely crucial fixtures, but football is as much a mental game as a physical one so you can’t put too much pressure on players at times like this,” said the United manager.
“It is about trying not to let confidence drain out of players. If you put too much pressure on them it can have an adverse effect. Keeping pressure off is quite simple and is about focusing on performance because that is the aspect under your control.”
United dominated large parts of the Kings Langley encounter, having an early Josh Chamberlain goal chalked off because the referee failed to play advantage after a foul.
Thereafter, they found goalkeeper Xavi Coman unbeatable, the home custodian compounding United’s misery with a stoppage time penalty save from on-loan striker Mitchell Weiss to deny the visitors a point. The latest blank in front of goal means United remain the league’s lowest scorers.
“You get games where refereeing decisions go against you or the other keeper is excellent – we are due a rub of the green,” said Hughes.
In Division One Central, Uxbridge followed last Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Hanwell Town with a 4-1 home defeat to Potters Bar on Monday, while Northwood drew 1-1 with Hanwell and AFC Hayes beat Windsor 1-0 in the Combined Counties Premier. In Spartan South Midlands Division One, Harefield United beat Hadley Wood & Wingate 2-1, but Hillingdon Borough crashed 4-1 at Southall.