BASINGSTOKE Town were unable to break down a stubborn Hayes and Yeading United side at Woking’s Kingfield Stadium last night.
The match was a war of attrition in front of a crowd of just 115. The hosts employed a very direct approach, but it was Basingstoke who created the better opportunities, with Hayes goalkeeper Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz being named man of the match.
Town made just one enforced change to the side that had beaten Dorchester, Andrew Jenkinson coming in for the suspended Wes Daly in the centre of midfield, meaning that Nicholas Bignall and Liam Enver-Marum continued in attack.
Basingstoke made a slow start but almost took the lead with their first real attack 10 minutes in. Bignall did well to hold the ball up before feeding Nathan Smart, whose low cross found Enver-Marum, but Jaimez-Ruiz showed great reactions to make the save from close range.
The striker went close again from the resulting series of corners, heading too close to the goalkeper, while Hayes’ best chance of the match came on 19 minutes.
Town failed to clear their lines from a throw and the ball fell to Samir Bihmoutine 10 yards from goal, but he blasted well over.
Adam Green then went close from a free-kick, seeing his curling effort float wide, while Freddie Ladapo was proving a handful for the Town defence, beating David Ray but firing wide of the near post.
Bignall was next to get a shot away, but it was straight at Jaimez-Ruiz, while Town were dealt a blow on 32 minutes, when Ray suffered an Achilles injury that may keep him out for some time.
He was replaced by Marcus Johnson-Schuster, with Robbie Rice filling in at centre-back, but the visitors almost responded by taking the lead.
After bouncing around in the box, the ball dropped to Bignall no more than eight yards out, but he was off-balance and only able to fire wide of the target.
Jenkinson was the next to test Jaimez-Ruiz as the half came to a close, his curling effort from distance forcing the former Aldershot goalkeeper into a spectacular save.
Hayes made a bright start to the second half but while Ladapo’s pace and power was causing problems, his finishing was lacking.
He turned well on the edge of the area, but fired narrowly over, before blasting another chance well off-target after beating Rice for pace.
Green had Basingstoke’s first effort of the second period following a decent move, but the angle was against him and Jaimez-Ruiz was able to claim at the second attempt.
The Hayes ’keeper then pulled off an excellent save to prevent his side going behind. Louie Soares’ low ball in was not dealt with and fell to the feet of Shaun McAuley. He made good contact and while the shot was close to Jaimez-Ruiz, he showed excellent reactions to keep the ball out.
That turned out to be the final real chance of a low-quality game, with neither side able to create anything clear cut in the last half-an-hour.
Town sub Manny Williams went closest for the visitors, a quickly-taken free-kick floating just over and a low shot blocked, while Ladapo had Hayes’ best opportunity, blasting over from the edge of the area.
The result saw Town slip a place to 13th in the Conference South table ahead of a trip to struggling Tonbridge Angels on Saturday.
Click here to see a post-match video interview with Basingstoke Town manager Jason Bristow.
Hayes and Yeading United: Jaimez-Ruiz, Brown, Everitt, Mills (sub Williams 72min), Gerring, Inman, McManus (sub Akubuine 90min), Harriott, Cox, Ladapo, Bihmoutine (sub Musunga 78min). Subs (not used): Yussuff, Crowley.
Basingstoke Town: Wells, Rice, Green, Smart, Gasson, Ray (sub Johnson-Schuster 32min), Jenkinson, McAuley, Enver-Marum, Bignall, Soares (sub Williams 73min). Subs (not used): Holder-Spooner, Barrett, Matthews.