SUBSTITUTE Danny Wishart boosted Hayes & Yeading’s survival hopes by hitting a late winner against fellow strugglers Kettering.
Wishart came off the bench to volley home five minutes from time as United inched closer to hauling themselves out of the Blue Square Premier drop zone.
Boss Nas Bashir handed a debut to on-loan Milwall striker Aiden O’Brien having only signed the teenager 24 hours prior to kick-off.
And the new-boy almost made an instant impact as he diverted a Jamie Hand cross narrowly wide inside the opening 10 minutes.
United were dominant with Tom Collins getting the better of Kettering right-back Phil Ifil and forcing an early save from Laurie Walker.
The debutant was in again after Luke Williams played a lovely through ball that split the Poppies defence but O’Brien saw his shot graze the post.
Kettering started to gain more of the possession but created little until Nathan Ralph stung Steve Arnold’s fingertips seconds before the half-time whistle.
The Poppies maintained their momentum after the restart and Marcus Kelly forced Arnold into another decent save five minutes into the second period.
Kettering went on the attack again moments later, Ben Joyce darting down the left before flashing a cross along the six-yard box that was begging to be finished.
Then a mistake by Phil Walsh allowed Charlie Wyke in on goal but the Poppies forward fired wide and somehow the deadlock remained unbroken.
Growing frustrated at his players, Bashir threw on Dwane Lee, Wishart and Julian Owusu in an attempt to swing the game back in United’s favour.
And with 77 minutes on the clock, Owusu found himself free in the Kettering six-yard box but the substitute sent his header well over the crossbar.
But where one substitute failed another made no mistake as Wishart volleyed home superbly after Walsh had flicked on Dwane Lee’s long throw.
The hosts saw out a nervy final few minutes at Kingfield and the relief was palpable as United moved within three points of 20th placed AFC Telford.
Hayes & Yeading: Arnold, Moutaouakil, Cadmore, Walsh, Bentley (Owusu, 68), Spence, Hand, Pele (Lee, 58), Williams, Collins (Wishart, 58), O’Brien. Subs not used: Ajala, Beasant.