|Competition:||Isthmian League Premier Division|
|Date:||Tuesday 27 September 2016|
Hendon slipped to a second consecutive defeat on Tuesday evening on Canvey Island to leave them with ten points from their opening ten league matches.
Following Saturday's dismal showing, manager Gary McCann reverted to a four man defence with Arthur Lee returning after missing the best part of a month to partner Luke Tingey, Spencer McCall taking his place in midfield and Andre Da Costa replacing namesake Khale in a wide position for his first start of the season.
Understandably, having conceded six at the weekend, the focus was very much on not conceding an early goal. Although there was little in the way of cohesion as an attacking force in the opening 20 minutes or so of the game from a Hendon point of view, they did reassuringly keep things quite tight defensively and not allow their hosts a clear sight of goal.
In the opening moments 6'5" striker George Sykes sent a shot dribbling comfortably wide of Berkley Laurencin's right hand post, and after about a quarter of an hour strong looking Canvey shouts for a penalty were waved away as the ever dangerous Tony Stokes got the wrong side of Tingey as a cross flew into the Hendon box and appeared to be bundled over in trying to reach the ball. The referee emphatically gestured for play to continue much to the ire of the home faithful.
With the first 20 minutes safely negotiated, the Blue shirted away side began to knit together some passes and enjoy some prolonged periods of possession. Ollie Sprague went on a mazy run from halfway inside the Canvey half before shooting a yard or two over the angle with the outside of his left foot - an effort that had Lewis Moore in the Canvey goal in full flight - whilst Karl Oliyide and Niko Muir linked up nicely down the right hand side, the former only denied a clear run at goal by an excellent last ditch interception from Steve Sheehan.
Just as Hendon appeared to be getting on top in the game, Canvey took the lead. Omar Lawson sent in a low cross from the right that Stokes appeared to lose control of. A sprawling blue-shirt was unable to clear effectively, instead playing the ball into Stokes' path where after a touch to work himself some space, he picked his spot beyond Laurencin into the bottom corner of the net.
Four minutes later, and the lead had been doubled in calamitous circumstances from a Hendon point of view. Chris Seeby had possession under little pressure, however allowed the ball to run a little away from him. Jack Simmons nipped in to grab the ball, evading the desperate attempts of the Hendon skipper to atone for his slip and never looked like missing as he calmly drew Laurencin, made to go around him and slid the ball home.
At this point, the visiting Hendon faithful would have been forgiven for fearing a repeat of the implosion witnessed at the weekend, however on the stroke of half time, a short corner routine paid unusually high dividends when McCall's deep cross, following a one-two with DaCosta, was met with a supremely judged header from Casey Maclaren that looped back across goal and just inside the far post. It was Hendon's first headed goal of the season.
The second half began with the hosts on the front foot, looking to restore their two goal advantage but again without seeing a clear sight of goal and it was Hendon that went closest to equalising five minutes after the restart. Good passing saw the ball worked inside off the right flank to Niko Muir. His first touch was excellent to take the ball away from Sheehan and allow him space to get a shot away, unfortunately his radar was slightly awry and his effort went the wrong side of the far post.
Further openings came and went at both ends as the game opened up, yet without either goalkeeper required to make a difficult save. Laurencin made a couple of excellent claims under pressure from crosses, whilst Moore at the other end was forced into little more than fielding overhit passes forward.
With about a quarter of an hour remaining, Canvey sealed the points when the impressive Sykes was left with the freedom of the Thames Estuary inside the Hendon box to meet a cross from the left wing this time with a superbly judged sidefooted volley that gave Laurencin no chance at all.
With the security of the two goal cushion restored, Canvey were more prepared to sit a little deeper and look to hit Hendon on the counter attack. Hendon, giving a first appearance of the season to Aaron Morgan continued to press to find a way back, but when not denied by the excellent Sheehan and Ryan O'Rawe, were by their own shirts - Casey Maclaren inadvertently blocking a Morgan shot when laying prone in the midst of the Canvey penalty area.
Although defeat will have hurt every bit as much as Saturdays, there could be no questioning the commitment or work-rate from Hendon. With the important FA Cup tie with AFC Rushden & Diamonds approaching at the weekend, McCann will no doubt be hoping not to see a repeat of the individual errors that proved so costly at Canvey.
|12||Kojo Awotwi||for 3 , 77|
|14||Martin Tuohy||for 11 , 74|
|15||Joey May||for 8 , 67|
|11||Andre Da Costa|
|12||Khale Da Costa||for 11 , 70|
|15||Aaron Morgan||for 2 , 81|
|16||Keagan Cole||for 10 , 81|