|Date:||Monday 18 July 2016|
Hendon celebrated the opening of their home at Silver Jubilee Park with a magnificent evening of football entertainment against a QPR XI. If Elliott Assi had been more alert in the dying seconds, Hendon and Rangers would have walked of the pitch after sharing 10 goals.
It would have meant the ending would have matched the goalscoring drama of the opening few seconds. Taking the kick-off, QPR were instantly on the attack with Brandon Adams, who scored three times in 13 Hendon appearances on loan from the Rs.
A highly-touted prospect, Adams burst through the Greens defence and, with less than 10 seconds on the clock, he fired past Brendan Norris to gave Rangers the lead.
Things soon got worse for Hendon when a flowing move from the visitors opened up the defence once again. Once the ball reached Niko Hamalinen, he needed no second bidding to drill it into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
The first response was almost immediate. Hendon attacked down the right side and when the ball was crossed low into the middle, Niko Muir nipped in front of Spencer McCall to divert the ball past Conor Hudnutt - who spent part of last season on loan at Harrow Borough.
Back in the game, Hendon began to play with greater freedom and took control. Keagan Cole made a superb run through the QPR defence but his shot was just off target.
But it did not take long for the Greens to make it 2-2. Much as the second QPR goal, it came from a sweet strike from outside the penalty and it was McCall who beat Hudnutt all ends up.
Niko Muir should have given Hendon the lead just before the interval when a superb call across the penalty area picked him out, unmarked and a couple of metres from the target. Unfortunately, the ball seemed to stick under his boot and he was unable to convert the excellent opening.
Hendon made half a dozen changes for the second half, twice as many as the Rs. The result was much the same as the opening stanza, though it did take a little over two minutes for Rangers to regain the lead.
A low cross into the penalty area fell towards both Adams and Reece Grego-Cox, and it was the latter who swept the ball past substitute keeper Berkeley Laurencin.
The first half similarities continued because QPR took complete control and looked dangerous whenever they attacked. Within another three minutes, the lead was back to two goals as Adams, completed his double with another neat finish.
Defending was not a strong point for Rangers either. Five minutes after Hendon had made another trio of changes - there would be two more with 13 minutes remaining ensuring all 11 starters were replaced - they were back in the game when Omar Vassell smashed home a third Greens goal.
Adams was denied the chance of completing his hat-trick as he was replaced for the final 15 minutes, but he just celebrated a fifth QPR goal. This time it was Dan Darbyshire who applied the coup de grace.
With nine minutes remaining, a clumsy QPR tackle on Kezie Ibe gave Hendon a free-kick 19 yards from goal. Substitute goalkeeper Marcin Brzozowski set up his wall with great precision, but he might as well have been standing in the net to catch Andre Da Costa's free-kick as it was placed with even greater accuracy just inside the post.
The technique required for a free-kick of that quality was of the highest class. More often than not, the cream of Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, La Liga and Serie A fail to achieve the lift, bend and dip delivered so exquisitely by Da Costa.
As Hendon searched for the equaliser they left holes at the back, but Grego-Cox and Chris Paul both missed very good chances. Hendon substitute Khale Da Costa showed his extreme pace and quite a bit of skill to set up Elliott Assi, but he dithered and was dispossessed.
The crowd of 423 was nearly given the finish most wanted. With seconds remaining, Kezie Ibe burst into the penalty area, beat a defender and bent the ball around the advancing Brzozowski.
He turned away thinking he had grabbed the equaliser, but there was just too much on his strike and the ball kissed the far post. No matter, or so it seemed, as Assi was only two yards from the goal as the rebound came to him.
Unfortunately, the striker was back on his heels and his moment of hesitation was all it took for Brandon Comley to slide in and divert the ball away. Even before Hendon could return the ball into the penalty area, the final whistle blew.
|12||Dave Diedhiou||for 3 , 62|
|13||Omar Vassell||for 4 , 62|
|14||Khale Da Costa||for 5 , 62|
|15||Scott Cousins||for 2 , 77|
|16||Berkley Laurencin||for 1 , 46|
|17||Andre Da Costa||for 6 , 46|
|18||Kezie Ibe||for 7 , 46|
|19||Jordan Knight||for 11 , 46|
|20||Zsambor Takacs||for 9 , 46|
|21||Elliott Assi||for 10 , 46|
|22||Oliver Achille||for 8 , 77|