BLUE SQUARE SOUTH St Albans City 1 Hayes & Yeading United 1
Will Hendry returned from his one-match suspension and capped a man of the match display with a late equaliser as Hayes & Yeading United claimed a valuable point away to inform St Albans City.
Hendry thumped his 86th minute free kick past the wall and into the bottom corner of the net for his eighth goal of the season and in so doing ended Saints' fine run of seven successive league wins.
The point also took United up to second, five points off leaders Chelmsford with two games in hand, on a day when none of the top seven sides managed a victory.
The match started very slowly for two sides brimming with confidence and a tense midfield battle was punctuated by niggling fouls, one of which led to the first chance as Jonathan Hunt curled a free kick into the box and it evaded everybody and narrowly missed the far post.
Steve Perkins headed a Hendry corner over and Sam Hurrell had a much better chance for Saints when he connected with Hunt's cross only to see his diving header land the wrong side of the upright.
Most of United's attacking play came through Hendry. First he sent Scott Fitzgerald clear and the striker was only denied a shot at goal by Ben Martin's well-timed challenge.
Then he hit the post direct from a corner before laying the ball off to James Mulley, who volleyed straight at Paul Bastock.
Right on half-time St Albans had the best chance of the half when Paul Hakim flicked on another Hunt free kick but Gary Cohen missed the target at the back post with the goal gaping.
The second half was far more lively and it started with Hakim going clear and he beat Delroy Preddie but saw his shot come back off the inside of the far post. Soon after he centred for Hunt who skewed his shot well wide and injured himself in the process.
Both sets of players showed signs of frustration and there was a major flashpoint when Bastock appeared to strike Fitzgerald in the face while awaiting a corner yet he was not punished.
Mulley just beat Bastock to a bouncing ball on 74 mintues but could not quite control his shot and another talking point came soon after when Gary Cohen fouled Perkins, who seemed to retaliate, but the referee instead booked Cohen for simulation.
Saints took the lead soon after when a long Adam Everitt throw was half-cleared and when Hassan Sulaiman sent the ball back in Hakim tucked it away, but they could not hang on as Fitzgerald was impeded just outside the area and Hendry smashed home a deserved equaliser.
Preddie had to field a close range header from Hakim to ensure the point.
UNITED: Preddie, Allen-Page, Bull, Cad-more, Ruby, Marwa, Perkins (Knight 80), Mulley, Fitzgerald, Hendry, James (Little 66). Subs not used: Collins, Howe.
Goals, City: Hakim 77. United: Hendry 86. Attendance: 587.