BLUE SQUARE SOUTH Hayes & Yeading United 2 Havant & Waterlooville 1
A Scott Fitzgerald goal deep into stoppage time following Will Hendry's spectacular equaliser earned Hayes & Yeading United another comeback victory amidst the wind and rain at Church Road.
Fitzgerald came off the bench to send FA Cup heroes Havant & Waterlooville home smarting from their fifth successive league defeat while giving Garry Haylock his first league win since the 2-1 success against AFC Wimbledon on September 20.
The victory was also United's third from games in which they have trailed, ensuring they remained in the play-off places.
Haylock gave a debut to left-back Ronnie Bull, who signed on Friday on a dual registration basis from Exeter City, having played for Fisher Athletic against United only 11 days earlier.
Steve Perkins replaced the injured Steven Gregory and the game had only just started when Ram Marwa centred for Josh Scott whose shot was blocked by Jay Smith.
Chances were few and far between in the first half as both teams struggled to cope with the strong wind and driving rain and most of those that were created fell to the away side.
Luke Nightingale shot straight at Delroy Preddie after combining well with Gary Holloway, who had a goalbound shot blocked by Marwa. At the other end Scott volleyed just over but Havant twice went close to taking a half-time lead, first when a Craig Watkins shot was bravely blocked by Tom Cadmore and then when Matt Gray beat the offside trap only to shoot at Preddie's legs.
United had the wind behind them after the break and found it a big help.
Just two minutes in Kevin Scriven picked up a back-pass and the resulting free kick in the area was charged down. Soon after Scott got around Jay Conroy and picked out Hendry with a low centre but his shot on the turn was blocked by Jay Gasson.
A long Scriven clearance and a Matt Ruby slip allowed Gray in again but his shot was wayward.
Both Hendry, from a free kick, and Steve Perkins, from a corner, went close for United, but somewhat against the run of play Havant got their nose in front with 10 minutes left on the clock. Ian Simpemba got up to head a corner goalwards and Danny Webb beat Delroy Preddie's attempted punch to flick his header home from close range.
The lead lasted five minutes, however, as Hendry produced a sublime piece of skill to turn and hold off one would-be tackler while completely wrong-footing another before curling a goal of the season contender around a third defender and into the top corner.
Fitzgerald had one chance to win it with a minute remaining when he combined with fellow substitute Esmond James but his shot was deflected wide by Simpemba, yet the same pair had better luck when Hendry picked out James and his cut-back was converted by the onrushing Fitzgerald.
UNITED: Preddie, Allen-Page, Bull, Cadmore, Ruby, Marwa (Saroya 90+1), Mulley, Perkins (James 84), Knight (Fitzgerald 77), Hendry, Scott. Subs not used: Collins, Howe.
Goals, United: Hendry 85; Fitzgerald 90+3. H&W: Webb 80. Attendance: 273.
* Tickets (£15 adults, £10 juniors) are still available to Supporters' Club members for the coach to Newport County on Saturday.
See John Colvin at Church Road before it departs at 10.30am.
* FORMER Ipswich Town and Scotland striker Alan Brazil is the special guest for the latest sporting dinner presented by Hayes & Yeading United on Friday.
Brazil will be joined by a top comedian for the three-course dinner and auction, held in the Warren Suite in Beaconsfield Road.
Tickets cost £40 each or £350 for a table of 10 - call Bill Perryman on 020 8756 1200.