|Competition:||Isthmian League Premier Division|
|Date:||Tuesday 01 November 2016|
Hendon slumped to another heavy defeat, this time at home to Kingstonian in the Ryman League Premier Division at Silver Jubilee Park. Although outplayed for most of the first half, the game was decided by six mad minutes, during which time Ks scored three goals and could have had more.
Following the FA Trophy defeat at Leiston, manager Gary McCann rang the changes, some of which were enforced. The players to drop out were Chris Seeby, Mayo Balogun, Sam Murphy, Spencer McCall and Keagan Cole, with Omar Vassell, Ollie Sprague, Gradi Milenge, Leo Donnellan (the son of former Hendon man, also Leo Donnellan) and Kezie Ibe coming in.
How different things might have been if Hendon had made the start they really should have. Finbarr Robins had a fantastic opportunity in the first 10 to 15 seconds, but failed to take it.
Kingstonian officials admitted that it would have knocked their team back significantly and the game might have gone very differently. Ifs and buts and maybes don't make for facts and the fact was that, having had their early escape, the Ks made Hendon pay a steep price for their profligacy.
Before 10 minutes had elapsed, Ryan Moss and Joe Turner had failed to capitalise on half chances. After 14 and 18 minutes, Turner contrived to shin the ball over the bar from two yards out and then plant a free header against the crossbar from five yards.
The damage was done, almost exclusively, by the trickery of Youseff Bamba, who had a field day (night?) down the right flank. However, the defending in the middle of the Greens' penalty area was significantly non-existent.
In the 25th minute, Milenge had two good options to play the ball forward, but opted instead to got across the front of the penalty area. His pass was wayward, the ball was moved across to Bamba, whose cross was headed home by Turner. The only way he could have failed with this attempt would have been if the ball had bounced off the ground and over the crossbar!
Things got worse three minutes later when Aaron Lamont picked up another loose pass out of defence. No defender or midfielder reacted quickly and Lamont fired a magnificent 30-yard, dipping shot that flew over Billy Collings and went inches under the crossbar.
Goal number three might have been the most galling of the trio. Firstly, Hendon failed to make a simple clearance from the right back position. Second, a free-kick was needlessly conceded. Third, no one reacted to the ball to the near post as quickly as former Hendon captain Lee OâLeary, whose trademark flicked header nestled in the side-netting at the far post.
Hendon were fried mentally and Collings was grateful that a charged down clearance by Moss bounced out for a throw-in and not into the net behind him. The Greens passing was tentative, the runs afraid and the gloom descended.
Somehow, there were no further first half goals and a shell-shocked Hendon team retreated to the dressing room for a very uncomfortable half-time chat with the management team. There were no changes to the team for the start of the second half, and Hendon's performance was certainly a marked improvement on the first 45.
Robins made a couple of mazy runs but the end product didn't trouble Rob Tolfrey in the Kingston goal. One effort flew high over the crossbar and another was deflected away for a corner.
Ks defenders were happy to throw themselves in front of the ball when the need arose and they displayed a greater desire to keep a clean sheet, shutting down both Ibe and Niko Muir when half-chances presented themselves.
If Hendon had scored first in the second period, they might have induced a degree of discomfort to the visitors, who had come into the game in a poor run of League form. Instead, when they were presented with a chance from a corner, Ks took it and snuffed the Greens' faint hopes. The defence didn't deal with the set piece and Bamba rifled the ball into the bottom corner.
Jerome Federico, back at the club after three seasons away, replaced Vassell, this after another new signing, Channing Campbell-Young had taken over from hamstring victim Donnellan. Federico improved the energy down the right side and sent over a number of teasing crosses.
The last change saw Sam Murphy take over from Ibe and he played a part in the Hendon consolation in the 85th minute. It really was a very good goal with Muir at the heart of it, playing two or three one-twos before getting behind the last defender and beating the advancing Tolfrey with a neat, low finish.
As consolations go, it was fairly meaningless. But, it must be added, in the second half, there was very little to choose between the teams, Kingstonian having rather reined in their attacking thoughts holding a comfortable lead.
|12||Sam Murphy||for 9 , 71|
|16||Channing Campbell-Young||for 7 , 51|
|17||Jerome Federico||for 2 , 58|
|12||Jason Stripp||for 7 , 77|
|14||Saidou Khan||for 4 , 68|
|15||Tom Derry||for 9 , 77|