HARTLEY Wintney travelled to fellow promotion chasers Hayes and Yeading looking to bounce back to winning ways in the league and also avenge a heavy defeat in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

Unfortunately, the did not happen they lost 3-1 to the home side and now will hope for better luck at Fleet Town on Tuesday night.

Hartley had the first chance on two minutes when a left wing cross from Jake Baxter found the head of former Basingstoke Town man Ashleigh Artwell.

The debutant was unable to get a clean connection and the header went wide.

The hosts responded and had chances courtesy of two free kicks. The first one on seven minutes was from a range of 25 yards and Scott Donnelly’s effort hit the top of the crossbar.

Then on 12 minutes Manny Daku went down just outside the penalty box. The free kick from Toby Little brought out a good save from Paul Strudley in the Hartley goal.

The home side took the lead on 22 minutes. A break down the right saw Manny Duku get behind the Row’s defence.

His cross from the goal line was headed in from almost under the cross bar by Laste Dombaxe.

On 34 minutes, Hayes and Yeading almost increased the lead when a long clearance left Duku in the clear.

In the subsequent one on one with Paul Strudley the Hartley custodian came out on top.

Two minutes later, the Row pulled level. Paul Hodges was fouled some 25 yards from goal. Dean Stow took the free-kick which beat the wall and also goalkeeper Zaki Oualah.

On 41 minutes a free kick from Scott Donnelly took an awkward bounce and Duke was just unable to connect and force the ball in.

Approaching half time the Row had a strong penalty claim when Paul Hodges was upended in the penalty box. Referee Harry Moore waved away the appeals.

The home side held a very slight edge in the early stages of the second half but Row goalkeeper Strudley remained untroubled. However on 59 minutes the home side took the lead.

A cross from the right was collected beyond the back post by Duku.

As the ball went back into the penalty box the Row defenders were unable to get in a clearance and the ball fell to Scott Donnelly. The midfielder’s half volley from the edge of the box found the corner of the net.

Hartley responded well and had a good spell of pressure but without testing Oualah in the hosts goal. However it was Hayes and Yeading who had the next effort on 66 minutes.

Duku gained possession on the edge of the Hartley box and fed full back Adam Cash whose powerful shot was well saved by Strudley.

The Row resumed their quest for an equaliser and forced several corners which were dealt with by the hosts.

Then on 78 minutes a Dean Stow cross found the head of Jack Ball who was unable to get a clean connection and the ball went wide from close range.

With Hartley pressing Hayes and Yeading were able to counter-attack and on 82 minutes the elusive Duku set Donnelly free in the area.

The midfielder shot across the face of the goal from a difficult angle. At the other end on 84 minutes Hartley had a chance for an equaliser following a good run and cross from Ashleigh Artwell but Jake Baxter was unable to adjust and convert.

On 88 minutes Duku had a chance for the hosts following a short headed back pass from a Row defender.

Paul Strudley was out quickly to pull off a smart stop.

With Hartley pressing for the equaliser a breakaway left Duku in the clear in the second minute of added time. The striker showed composure in finishing to make the game safe for Hayes and Yeading.

Joint manager Anthony Millerick said: “It was a disappointing result obviously at the end of a very tight game. I thought the match was very even for the most part. A 3-1 score line definitely flattered Hayes and Yeading.

“In tight matches experienced players often make the difference and that was the case today.”

Dan Brownlie added: “I thought a penalty should have been given for the foul on Paul Hodges in the first half.

It was disappointing that we were unable to get a clearance in when they scored their second goal.

“Our record against the top six sides shows that we have won just three so far with two more matches to come.

“In tight matches it comes down to fine margins and we must somehow score when chances present themselves. In these games there are not many chances usually for either side.”