|Competition:||Isthmian League Premier Division|
|Date:||Tuesday 23 August 2016|
Hendon were indebted to an 88th minute goal from Karl Oliyide for the point they gained from their match against Burgess Hill Town on Tuesday night.
Following the defeat against Wingate & Finchley at the weekend, there were a number of changes to line-up, most notably the return of Kevin Maclaren. His brother Casey Maclaren and Dale Binns were two who were absent because of injury, Luke Tingey coming in at centre-half. The other alterations saw Kezie Ibe take over from Niko Muir and Omar Vassell come in for Spencer McCall.
The first half was notable for the lack of goalmouth action on a night when the humidity and heat were energy sapping - the referee admitted he contemplated the unusual step of a taking a drinks break in a night game. In the 12th minute Oliyide was denied by a brave block from a Hillians defender and the two corners which followed came to naught.
At the other end Daniel Thompson had a couple of chances, but he failed to work Barkley Laurencin. But, for most of the first 25 minutes, Hendon were comfortably in control, if not actually piling on the pressure.
That said, Ibe really should have given Hendon the lead when Chris Seeby burst forward powerfully, saw space for a shot and let fire. The ball was going off target, but Ibe, anticipating a half-chance would have expected to better with his attempt from five yards than to scuff the ball wide.
When Hendon made a mistake in possession just inside the Burgess Hill half, conceding a corner, the loss of confidence seeped through the whole team and for the rest of the first half and 25 minutes of the second, the Greens struggled to do anything.
In the 41st minute, Joey Taylor tried his luck from 30 yards out, but the Hillians defender hit ball straight at the well-placed Laurencin, who was, nonetheless a little inconvenienced as the ball arrowed just under the crossbar. The goalkeeper knocked down the ball and gathered it long before any white-shirted attacker could get close.
Another long-range, on-target strike followed, but this save by Laurencin would certainly be filed in the routine category.
Early in the second half, Finbarr Robins forced Josh James into a diving save. In the opening half-hour, a chance like that would have seen Ibe or Oliyide sniffing out the opportunity for a rebound. Now, they were leaden footed and the goalkeeper was able to recover.
Mayo Balogun began to get forward more once the Hillians had made a couple of changes, moving Lee Harding into a more central midfield position. He found himself with a shooting opportunity in the 67th minute, but James seemed to have it covered as it went just wide of the post.
Three minutes later Hendon were behind. Just as when they allowed Kingstonian to equalise a week earlier, it was a set-piece that led to the goal. The original corner was not properly cleared and a third attempt at goal was a powerful shot - one that Laurencin did well to push aside.
No defender reacted to the loose ball, but Thompson did. He strode forward and blasted the ball into the net from close range.
The Hendon response was to send on McCall, Andre Da Costa and Muir, Dave Diedhiou, Vassell and Maclaren, respectively the three to be sacrificed. It meant that for the final 10 or so minutes, Hendon had up to five attackers looking for an equaliser.
It didn't seem likely as, all too often, players took the wrong option in good positions, became too hasty, or lacked the confidence to try their luck with a shot at goal.
But, with three minutes to go, Robins got himself into a good position. His low ball into the penalty area, may be been a shot, might have been a cross but, either way, Oliyide saw the opportunity and banged the ball into the net from six yards out. Hillians defenders looked to the assistant referee for an offside flag, but it stayed down.
From then one, there was only going to be one winner, if time allowed. Muir should have been a comfortable second best to a diagonal ball from Robins, but James hesitated as he came off his line.
Muir reached the ball first, but the goalkeeper was right in front of him and James was able to make a block with his feet as he was outside the his penalty area. A couple more half-chances came and went before Hendon were denied the chance of a last gasp winner.
A ball seemed certain to release Ibe, who would have had only the static James to beat for glory. Instead, a defender lunged across and brought him down three yards outside the penalty area.
Unfortunately for Hendon, the referee had been in right place in the build-up and was not able to get a good view of Ibe, the ball and the challenge. Given his position and a few players in his line of sight, he would have, to some extent, been guessing if it was a foul and - more importantly - if the defender making the challenge had been the last man, which would have resulted in a red card.
As Hendon hoped to hear the whistle, the referee waved play on. If the free-kick had been given, it would have been absolutely perfect for Da Costa, but when things are not going your way, those are the sort of breaks you don't get.
|12||Niko Muir||for 8 , 82|
|14||Spencer McCall||for 4 , 76|
|17||Andre Da Costa||for 11 , 76|
|12||Guy Bolton||for 3 , 65|
|16||Sam Fish||for 10 , 60|