THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND Hayes & Yeading United 4 Chelmsford City 1
Record-breaking Kieran Knight scored four times to almost single-hand-edly dish out a 4-1 beating to Chelms-ford City at a bitterly cold Church Road.
The 27-year-old striker became the first player to net four times in one game for United as the hosts, second in Conference South, eased past the league leaders with the minimum of fuss.
It was by no means a vintage performance from United but on a day when both teams looked like they were playing a pre-season friendly, with barely a competitive let alone a malicious tackle in sight, Knight's clinical finishing was far too good for City.
Garry Haylock rested Delroy Preddie, Danny Allen-Page, Will Hendry and Josh Scott, underlining howmuch the tie really meant to him.
Chelmsford had only one change from their last league outing and yet once they went behind one sensed City did not plan to expend too much energy clawing back the ground, particularly at the risk of a replay.
The first goal came after 12 minutes when Esmond James found Scott Fitzgerald, whose lay-off was moved on by Ram Marwa and Knight merely helped the ball over Danny Gay, making a precise finish seem very easy.
City replied with Kevin James firing straight at Aaron Howe, a Ricky Holmes curler did not curl enough and in first half stoppage time Mulley got back well to prevent Chris Moore, one of three ex-Northwood strikers on view, getting a shot off before Howe dived on the ball.
City came out from the break very early into the chilly air and United caught them cold after just 77 seconds.
At one end Tom Cadmore only just escaped Moore's clutches following Ronnie Bull's dicey pass, he delivered a route one pass and Knight bent his run wonderfully to get behind the last defender and clip the ball over the keeper. Steven Gregory, who ran the show, smashed in a shot that Gay palmed away and with City showing little fight, midway through the half the hosts added another very simple goal.
Fitzgerald's header suckered Ian Cousins into a rash challenge from which Knight spun away and neither Cousins nor Steve Ward could get back on terms with the United striker as he went half the length of the pitch to slot past the hapless Gay.
It was so easy Haylock was able to rest both Matt Ruby and Cadmore and he planned to finish the game with only Bull out of his regular back four on the field, until Toby Little, making his first start of the season, twisted his knee. It looked a nasty one.
Bizarrely, City actually showed some urgency once David Rainford pulled a goal back from the spot with only four minutes remaining, the penalty coming when Steve Perkins mystifyingly handled a high cross with little clear or present danger, although he made amends moments later.
His clearing header from on halfway got Knight in behind the defence on the right and he caressed the ball nonchalantly beyond Gay for another superb finish and another shockingly simple goal against a side with only one away defeat to its name all season.
Fitzgerald missed a tap in by scuffing his shot from Allen-Page's inviting cross and at the other end Howe beat out Bertie Brayley's free kick just before the final whistle, but if the league game on December 20 is this straightforward and placid, I'll eat my woolly hat!