The inability of Cambridge City to beat teams around them in the play-off positions may yet still come back to haunt them as we enter the final months of the season.
Moneyfields, Beaconsfield, AFC Rushden & Diamonds, Dunstable and now Hayes & Yeading are all on a list of teams who have been in and around the top six at the time of playing City and have taken points off the Lilywhites at some point this season.
Arguably, City were on the back foot even before the match started. Influential right back Ben Robinson was missing through illness, Jack Vasey was still on the sidelines with injury, and Niall Conroy was still absent from an injury he sustained against Bedford on Boxing Day the last time City had a home game.
With both teams vying for a play-off spot, the contest was always going to be a tight affair. The opening exchanges saw the visitors on the front foot, but were restricted to long range opportunities.
City had a great chance to open the scoring when Ryan Towner, who was filling in at right back for Ben Robinson, supplied a glorious cross for Ryan Sharman but his effort went just wide.
The visitors responded when the impressive Duncan Culley beat Jordan Williams and his shot was saved on the second attempt by Charlie Bannister. The response from City was immediate and Salim Relizani played in James Hall, but his effort was saved by Danny Boness in the Hayes goal.
It was Culley who went closest for the visitors in the next passage of play. The wide man was played in, and with perhaps a hint of offside, he dragged his effort wide of the target.
As the first half reached its end, Nathan Olukanmi found space out on the wing and showed good pace to beat the Hayes defence, and picked out Relizani, but his effort was saved by Boness.
It was Relizani who was involved in Citys first opening after the break as he was played in, but didnt make the best of the opportunity as Boness comfortably saved.
Ben Seymour-Shove was introduced at the expense of the injured Olukanmi, and the substitute made an immediate impact, when he delivered a cross that Boness didnt claim cleanly, and the ball fell to Relizani who saw his effort blocked by the visitors defence. By now, the match was beginning to open up, and Toby Little did well to beat Ryan Towner but his shot hit the side netting.
The deadlock was finally broken when the ball fell to Scott Donnelly who found space and saw his initial effort hit the bar, but made no mistake with the rebound to give the visitors the lead.
Citys task of getting back into the contest was hampered as they lost striker James Hall through injury, and although the Lilywhites battled to get back into the contest the visitors doubled their lead when substitute Spyros Mentis picked out Toby Little who made no mistake to fire past Bannister for the second and decisive goal of the contest.
City pressed for what would have been nothing more than a consolation goal, but Hayes and Yeading had done enough to record a victory that moves them up to third in the table. The Lilywhites remain in seventh spot, two points off the play-offs, but do have 3 games in hand on the team directly above them. Those games in hand will certainly be crucial for City if they are to fulfil their aspirations of being in the promotion mix come the end of the season.
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