|Competition:||Isthmian League Premier Division|
|Date:||Saturday 11 February 2017|
Hendon and Lowestoft Town played out a second draw of the season, but instead of a six-goal thriller - rather thrown away by the Greens earlier in the season - this was an increasingly turgid, goalless stalemate.
The credit for this is to Lowestoft, who played for more than an hour - stoppage time included - with midfielder Travis Cole as an emergency goalkeeper. This was because, for the second time this season, Jamie Waite came in as the Trawlerboys' goalkeeper, but he was injured and saw no second-half action.
Hendon made one change to the 16 which had seen duty in the defeat of Grays Athletic and the draw with League leaders Bognor Regis Town. Casey Maclaren came into the starting line-up with Jamie Smith dropping to the bench at the expense of goalkeeper Berkley Laurencin.
Lowestoft had the first chance of the afternoon, in the fourth minute, when they broke quickly out of defence and had a four-on-two advantage. The ball was laid into the path of Jake Reed, but his shot was well saved by Tom Lovelock.
The action switched to the other end, in the ninth minute when Laste Dombaxe tried his luck with a 25-yard drive that Waite pushed away.
Hendon also created the next half-chance when Marcel Barrington forced an error from Waite, but he could not get his shot off.
Two minutes later the game changed. Hendon won a free-kick midway inside the Lowestoft half. Luke Tingey delivered a high teasing ball which resulted in Maclaren and Waite colliding.
Both players had their eyes solely on the ball and, coming from different angles, did not see other. It was a serious clash, which resulted in play being halted immediately - Hendon had a shooting opportunity, but the referee's call was undoubtedly correct because the stricken players were in danger from play continuing and they needed immediate treatment.
Surprisingly, both players were able to continue, but not for long. They both went down once more for treatment but continued, then, in the 21st minute, Maclaren went down for a third time, at which point Smith replaced him.
The early indications were that Maclaren had suffered a significant rib injury and he went off for treatment. In the 40th minute, Hendon having failed to apply significant pressure on Waite, the goalkeeper attempted to punch a ball clear and crumpled in a heap.
After another significant delay, Waite was helped off and with no substitute goalkeeper available, it was Cole who took the orange shirt. Andrew Fisk, a no-nonsense central defender took his place and it was clear that the Trawlerboys' main concern was protecting their goalkeeper.
In the eighth minute - of 10 - of added time, Rory McAuley had the chance to give Lowestoft the lead from a corner. His effort was again saved by Lovelock.
From the kick-off to start the second half, Sam Murphy tried his luck with a shot. It wouldn't have the power to embarrass Cole, even if it had been on target, but it suggested that the Greens would shoot on sight.
Instead, three minutes into the second half, it was Lowestoft who went close to a goal. A corner was not well dealt with, and when the shot came in it flew narrowly wide of the target.
If Hendon had been planning a shoot-on-sight policy, it didn't work because the Lowestoft defence, normally numbering half a dozen, was outstanding. For all the frustration felt by home fans, credit has to be given to the Trawlerboys' whose defensive efforts were outstanding.
They played as they were a man short and effectively played a 6-3-1 formation and Reed was willing joined by Nico Cotton at every opportunity. Lowestoft's counter-attacking plan almost paid off, too, in the 69th minute - two mintues after Keagan Cole had replaced Dombaxe.
The ball was cleared by a blue-shirted defender and a clever pass released Cotton, who had a clear run at goal. His shot flew past Lovelock, but the goalkeeper had his angles almost perfectly worked out because the ball struck the outside of the far post and bounced away to safety.
Hendon finally got off a few shots, but they were off target. With 17 minutes of normal time remaining, Kezie Ibe was replaced by Elliott Charles, who brought a more physical presence but no more improvement in the quality of the Greens' attack.
As the game moved into its dying minutes, the play became more frantic. Matt Ball had a shot which he didn't strike cleanly and Travis Cole saved relatively comfortably. Had he let the ball get away from him, Reis Stanislaus would have been perfectly placed to pounce on a rebound.
Five additional minutes at the end of the second half took the finish time to past 5.00pm and the nerves on both benches were definitely jangling. Ryan Jarvis fired over for Lowestoft when a little composure would have seen him become the hero.
At the other end, Stanislaus made a great break but couldn't finish the job, Ball fired over in a scenario similar to that of Jarvis and then Keagan Cole dithered before shooting. But it was the Hendon Cole who nearly made the difference.
A ball played diagonally into the 18-yard-box saw him a half-step ahead of Adam Smith, but the defender did enough to nudge him off the ball. The full-back, however, did not play the ball, and it did not appear to be an actual shoulder-to-shoulder charge, so when Cole went down, a penalty might have been awarded.
The referee, close, but a little behind the play, glanced to his assistant for confirmation that the challenge was OK and waved play on. There were few complaints from the Hendon players and, in truth, a goal for either team would have made them somewhat underserved winners.
|12||Keagan Cole||for 7 , 67|
|15||Elliott Charles||for 10 , 73|
|16||Andre Da Costa|
|17||Jamie Smith||for 5 , 20|
|12||Andrew Fisk||for 1 , 40|
|14||Aristote Amisi Kamaneno|
|16||Ryan Miles||for 7 , 87|