|Competition:||Isthmian League Premier Division|
|Date:||Tuesday 13 December 2016|
Hendon produced a defensive horror show as they succumbed to a 4-0 defeat against Ryman League Premier Division bottom dogs Grays Athletic. Any thoughts that the Greens might have turned the corner with the wins at Leiston and Bognor Regis can now be banished, because this was a performance that displayed relegation form.
There were three changes to the line-up, with Jerome Federico returning after a business trip and new signings Aaron Tumwa and Quba Gordon - a youth loan player at Boreham Wood - taking over from Keagan Cole, Luke Tingey and Karl Oliyide.
In the first three minutes, Hendon looked good, but the early signs proved to be a false dawn. In the fourth minute, the Greens failed to deal effectively with a ball into the penalty area and when it fell to the feet of Lheureux Menga, he smashed the ball past Darren Behcet.
Things soon got worse because in the 12th minute, Jamie Smith was knocked over by Joao Carlos, an incident none of the three officials saw. Before Smith could recover his position, Carlos had run into the penalty and was unmarked as he put the ball in the net.
The double setback shattered Hendon's confidence and, for 20 minutes, everything the Greens touched turned to dust. Grays couldn't take advantage of the dithering Dons and then the hosts should have got back into the game.
In the 34th minute, the Greens were awarded a penalty. Sam Murphy took the spot-kick but, unlike his two previous attempts, this was at savable height and Amadou Tangara, having guessed correctly parried the ball.
Just before half-time, Hendon had a much bigger cause for complaint when Kezie Ibe directed a header into the net. As the ball was sent into the penalty area, the assistant raised his flag for offside although there were five defenders between Ibe and the goal - and he had not made a run back from an offside position.
It is possible that both Casey Maclaren and Arthur Lee had been in offside positions, but neither were in Tangara's line of sight or attracting any defensive attention because the ball had been played short. Not one defender, nor the goalkeeper, made any appeal for offside - not that this should be a factor.
But, clouding the issue was the shirt worn by Tangara. It was almost identical to the fluorescent lime of Hendon and some spectators wondered if the assistant had seen the goalkeeper's shirt, between the blue ones worn by defenders and then raised his flag.
Having disallowed the goal, the referee must had some doubts because he went over to his assistant to confirm the decision. When the second half started, Tangara was in an emerald green shirt and there was no colour clash.
Five minutes into the period, the Hendon defence was ripped open by a short pass straight down the middle. Kieran Bishop was just behind Brad Hewitt, but he ran past the slow turning defender and slipped the ball past Behcet.
It got even worse for the Greens midway though the half when more lazy defending gave Bishop a second goal. The reaction from the Hendon bench was to withdraw Hewitt and replace him with Cole, while to boost the attack, Reis Stanislaus took over from Maclaren.
The last Hendon change saw Leon Smith come on for Andre Da Costa as the Greens went to three-men attacks and defence. Unfortunately, it did little to improve the situation and, with six minutes to go, there was the depressing sight of Ibe limping off the pitch having suffered a recurrence of a muscle injury.
It was a nightmarish ending to a nightmare performance.
|11||Andre Da Costa|
|14||Reis Stanislaus||for 8 , 61|
|16||Leon Smith||for 11 , 72|
|17||Keagan Cole||for 4 , 61|
|12||Luke Hornsley||for 10 , 67|
|16||Terrell Forbes||for 3 , 71|