BLUE SQUARE SOUTH: Hayes & Yeading United 2 Newport County 0
CONFIDENCE continued to flood back into Hayes & Yeading United's play-off campaign as they eased to a third successive win.
Newport County were utterly subdued by their hosts who recorded their second clean sheet in a row, while Ram Marwa's third goal in successive games plus another from Josh Scott, brought United all three points.
United, who had managed only two league wins in the 13 games immediately after humiliating Newport in early November, have suddenly stormed back into play-off contention and if they continue the form shown on Saturday few would bet against them overhauling Maidenhead, whom they trail by just one point, or even Chelmsford who are dropping like a stone at the moment.
Form player Marwa set United on their way in only the 11th minute, feeding Esmond James on the right and he helped the ball down the line for Scott, who reached it a split second before onrushing keeper Glyn Thompson.
Scott ran out of space for a direct shot but his cross flicked off a defender and fell perfectly for Marwa, who continued his run to head in the easiest of chances.
It was just about the only chance of the opening half hour before United began to pick the visitors apart almost at will, only to squander a succession of opportunities.
Will Hendry scuffed a left-foot volley, Scott saw his piledriver pushed aside by Thompson and when Hendry hooked the ball on for James to again scamper down the right he seemed certain to find the net after stepping inside the last defender and beating the keeper, only to see the ball strike the outside of the upright.
Newport's Danny Rose got free in the United box but headed well wide as he went for power over placement and such was the home side's stranglehold on the game, that was the only opportunity worthy of the description that the Exiles managed in the first 85 minutes.
Hendry's fine curling cross should have been nodded in by Scott but he was taken by surprise when the defender missed his header and then United striker did all the hard work only to waste another excellent chance in the final minute of the first half. He was already pulling off the shoulder of Kevin Stephens, whom he gave a torrid time, when Steven Gregory picked him out with a superb ball from right to left. He cut back inside Stephens, leaving him on his backside, but Thompson pulled off a fine low save to keep his side in the game.
Poor finishing was the only real criticism of United but Scott finally showed how it should be done after battling for a direct ball forward from Dale Binns, who can take plenty of credit for United's resurgence because his arrival has not only improved the team's balance but it has also allowed Scott to move back up front.
Scott gave Aaron Cook a little nudge missed by the referee, was allowed to advance and finally United had their second goal.
Hendry trickery almost handed Scott his second but for Cook's brilliant last ditch tackle, Thomson saved Marwa's near post diversion and James skied a shot well over the bar at the end of a United move that involved countless passes.
That move summed up much of United's display as they toyed mercilessly with Newport but just as they had the visitors where they wanted them, their finishing failed to match the approach work.
In the final few minutes the ball somehow found a way through to Rose but he fired straight at the underworked Preddie and Ruby capped a superb dis-play in which Newport striker Paul Cochlin never got a look in, by sliding in and sweeping a dangerous cross away from the aforementioned striker, to put the seal on a 10th point from 12.
UNITED: Preddie, Mulley, MacDonald, Cad-more, Ruby, Marwa, James, Gregory, Scott (Palmer 79), Hendry, Binns. Subs not used: Perkins, Collins, Lovell, Howe.
Goals, United: Marwa 11; Scott 52. Newport: None. Attendance: 311.
* Tickets are still available for an evening with Steve Perryman to be held in the Ferdinand Suite at Church Road,from 7.30pm on Friday.
The Spurs legend will regale his audience with stories and anecdotes for just £10 - call Billy Perryman on 020 8756 1200 or 07780 870920.