DIVISION ONE SOUTH AND WEST AFC Hayes 4 Thatcham Town 2
It was another typical day at the office for Joe Mitchell as his AFC Hayes scored four times yet made hard work of beating play-off contenders Thatcham Town.
Hayes conceded a soft opener but then showed just how devastating they can be in attack as they roared back with four goals and at that point they were cruising.
But Hayes don't do easy and once Thatcham pulled one back, Jamie Duncan was sent off and the hosts were somewhat hanging on despite a two-goal cushion.
"We do make it hard, don't we?" said Mitchell. "But I'll take every game 4-3 if we win it - we like to keep the punters happy!
"If you see the result AFC Hayes 0 another team 0 you would think it's a misprint.
"But we've got nine points out of nine, which any manager would take no matter how he got them, but you can under-stand why they can excite and frustrate me.
"At 4-1 we're comfortable and we don't seem to know how to handle a lead."
Thatcham opened the scoring in the 19th minute when home keeper James Harry failed to cut out a long cross and Ashley Vine headed home, typifying how shaky Hayes were at the back throughout.
It was a different matter in attack, however, and after Ross Ahir, Dean Clark and Nick Turner all missed decent chances the hosts finally levelled just before the break.
Harry made a fine save from Ben McCready and Hayes countered, Clark helping the ball on for Trevor Charlery who skipped one challenge and although Dean Papali miskicked his attempted finish, Kevin Chakaodza converted.
Just 43 seconds into the second half Hayes were in front.
Another sweeping move ended with Jay Pereira's cross, Papali brought the ball down and Ahir smashed it into the top corner.
Chakaodza and Papali both had shots blocked when they seemed certain to net and when Hayes scrambled a corner off their own line they attacked again.
The ever tidy Ahir carried the ball the length off the field before slipping it to Pereira but he could not beat the keeper.
No matter. Chakaodza received Pereira's pass with his back to goal, turned his man brilliantly and squeezed his second goal inside the far post.
And when poacher Papali, who has now joined permanently following his loan from Wealdstone, turned in Clark's off-target shot to make it four goals in 25 minutes, Hayes should have been home and dry.
But then, Hayes don't do easy.
Tom Melledew drilled home to pull one back, Harry showed great reactions to prevent another and all the time Clark persisted in trying 40-yard passes that were 50:50 at best, rather than guarantee possession with a 10-yard alternative, Hayes gave their opponents belief.
The hosts still created chances, Chakaodza slicing a hat-trick opportunity well wide and Duncan was set to seal victory until his left-footer thudded into the post.
Seconds later he ensured the post will bring him news of a three-game suspension because he was sent off for an alleged headbutt, although he insisted it was no more than a push, and pushing is what Hayes are doing up the table in their own inimitable style.
"I think the last three or four games TJ (Charlery) has been playing extremely well," commented Mitchell. "He's been back to the form that we like to see him in.
"I think he's been exceptional and Jay Pereira has been playing especially well too.
"And Chak's scored four in three which takes the burden off Papali."