Remembering where we once were.
Rovers enjoyed some high scoring affairs against London club Hayes FC during the eight meetings between the two sides from 1998 – 2002.
It’s fair to say that they endured some disappointment in that time also.
Rovers’ first season in the Conference saw the Middlesex outfit do the double over the newly relegated South Yorkshire side, so much so that Ian Snodin’s men didn’t even register a goal.
The first encounter, at Church Road resulted in a 2-0 win for the hosts thanks to goals from Martin Randall and Mark Hall. Randall also struck in the return at Belle Vue in March ’99 to separate the two sides and Hayes would eventually finish third, behind CHELTENHAM TOWN and Kettering.
A stalemate early in the 99/00 season meant that Rovers still hadn’t broken their duck and the very fact that the clubs would finish in eleventh and twelfth in the table at the season end was epitomised by a seven goal thriller in west London in January 2000.
Rovers took the lead THREE times through Dino Maamria (9), Jason Minett (20) and Kevin McIntyre (58), only to be pegged back on each occasion by Barry Moore (18), Dave Stevens (35) and Lee Flynn (69).
Fortunately for Snodin’s men, Minett’s 80th minute penalty gave them their fourth lead of the afternoon and they held on.
The next time Rovers travelled south to face ‘The Missioners’ was under the stewardship of Steve Wignall, who presided over a comfortable 3-0 win through Colin Miles’ own goal and Mike Turner’s strike, either side of big money striker Carl Alford’s solitary goal for the club – a 54th minute penalty.
Alford wasn’t around to see the return fixture, a drab stalemate at Belle Vue in front of less than 1800, as he’d been loaned out to struggling Kettering, who were relegated, three points behind Hayes.
The last season in which the sides crossed paths was in the 01/02 season and Doncaster certainly had got the better of Hayes by this time, scoring ten goals in two fixtures against the beleaguered Londoners who went on to be relegated at the end of the season.
The first game saw a Jamie Paterson brace cap off a fine afternoon for the visitors who had Gareth Owen, Matty Caudwell and Tris Whitman to thank for putting them in to an unassailable three goal lead as early as the 22nd minute. Ian Hodge’s second half reply was of little consolation in the 5-1 demolition.
Paterson, who had closed the scoring in the previous encounter, opened it at Belle Vue in March ’02. Anthony Charles pulled one back for the hosts before Jamie Squires, Robert Gill, Paul Green and Paul Barnes saw Rovers run riot. Mark Molesley’s late effort reduced the areas in a one sided affair.
Hayes floated about in the sixth tier for a few years before their merger with close neighbours Yeading FC – famed for producing striker DJ Campbell – to form the current football club, Hayes & Yeading FC, in 2007.
The club remained in the sixth tier for a couple of years after formation and had success initially by winning promotion to the Conference National in 2009 via the play-offs.
A few years in the fifth tier saw the club achieve their highest placed finish of 16th before the decline set in. Hayes & Yeading were relegated in 2012 and nearly again the following year. Their misery was compounded in the 2013/14 season when they were relegated to the Isthmian League.
Next season they will groundshare with Maidenhead United while their existing ground is being redeveloped. Former Liverpool defender Phil Babb has recently been bestowed the manager’s post.
*Dino Maamria in action in front of an expectant Popular Stand during the 0-0 draw on 28th August 1999. A healthy crowd of 3,546 was in attendance at Belle Vue*