|Competition:||Isthmian League Premier Division|
|Date:||Saturday 11 March 2017|
Hendon slipped back into the bottom two of the Ryman League Premier Divison after a disastrous second half showing at Leatherhead on Saturday afternoon. Leading 2-0 at the break, Hendon fell apart and three goals were no less than the Tanners deserved.
With Arthur Lee suspended, Daniel Rumens took his place in the defence, while Reis Stanislaus took over up front from Kezie Ibe. Geo Craig was also on the bench with Malachy McGovern making way for him.
The Greens, in dark blue, started brightly and Marcel Barrington had the first shot, a 20-yard effort which Louis Wells saved without too much difficulty. He did knock down the ball before picking it up, but Stanislaus was too far away to pounce on the loose ball.
Then, in the seventh minute, Hendon took the lead in the most bizarre circumstances. Paul Semakula received a short pass from Jerry Nnamani some 10 or so yards from the edge of his penalty area, almost midway between the near post and the touchline.
Barrington approached Semakula, forcing the Tanners skipper to consider a back-pass. Wells, expecting to receive the pass ran to be in line with Semakula a couple of yards from the goalline and a dozen from the near post.
Semakula, however, rolled the ball back to the middle of the goal. The ball was not struck powerfully, and Wells might have been able to reach it if he had set off as soon as he saw the ball struck.
He, however, was stationary, transfixed by the sight of the ball trundling slowly and truly towards the middle of the goal. Nnamani sprinted back, but was half a dozen yards behind the ball as it rolled into the middle of the goal.
Hendon fans were as bemused as everyone else and cheers for the goal were mixed with open-mouth disbelief and laughter.
Despite the setback, Leatherhead were quickly on the front foot, with D#Sean Theobalds and Kadell Daniel causing big problems from James Hammond and Sam Murphy, the two Hendon full-backs. Daniel created one opening and his powerful drive was directed straight into the midriff of Tom Lovelock, who held onto the ball as Daniel Carr sniffed for a rebound.
Hendon then created an opening which fell to Matt Ball. He tried to curl the ball into the top corner, but it did not dip in time and although Wells was well beaten, the crossbar was cleared by about a foot.
Daniel against got the better Hammond in the 32nd minute and this time he tried to score at the far post. It was a very good effort, but the angle was just too tight and the ball flew across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
When Theobalds had a chance to shoot, a defender got a toe to the ball to send it just beyond the left upright. The corner was rather wasted as Josh McLeod-Urquhart won the header and cleared powerfully.
Four minutes before half-time, Hendon doubled their advantage. A clearance saw Barrington and Semakula jump for the ball and the Hendon man got a flicked header on it.
Khale Da Costa, anticipating a pass, broke down the right wing and received the ball as Barrington touched the ball beyond the approaching Danny Murphy. Suddenly, Da Costa was in the clear and he cut in towards goal.
Screaming for a pass was the unmarked Ball, who was on the edge of the 18-yard-box. He took a touch, knocked the ball past Yannis Ambroisine, who had been slow to cover, and steadied himself.
Wells tried to narrow the angle but to no avail as Ball stroked the ball into the bottom corner. Undeservedly, it might have been, but Hendon were two goals to the good and it stayed that was as the whistle blew for half-time.
Five minutes after the whistle, the Leatherhead players were back on the pitch, where manager Jimmy Bullard delivered his team-talk. Bullard had been a Hull City player when Phil Brown delivered a half-time rant in the Premier League a few years ago, but this was different.
After the match, Bullard admitted that he often takes the players out onto the pitch early in half-time, so this was a very different circumstance. And, before the resumption, former Hendon man Jerome Federico took over from Tyron Smith, taking over on the right side and allowing Theobalds to raid from a central position.
After 48 minutes, Theobalds stung the hands of Lovelock with a stinging drive. It was a lesson Hendon did not heed.
Two minutes later, Theobalds collected the ball just outside the penalty area, ran across the pitch until he found an angle and then he delivered a superb shot into the bottom corner. Lovelock was probably unsighted as the ball flew past him, because he barely dived at the ball.
It was very noticeable that Hendon heads dropped almost as much as Leatherhead's communal belief grew. This was the early goal that the Tanners really needed and Hendon were now even more on the back-foot.
Stanislaus could have steadied Hendon nerves in the 64th minute, when he got clear of the defence. Barrington was well-placed across the penalty area, but Stanislaus elected to shoot and Wells against needed two goes to complete the save.
Less than a minute later, the hammer-blow was delivered. Daniel was the man to try his luck with a long-range effort and it was almost perfect. The ball crashed off the underside of the crossbar and, as Hendon defenders stood admiring the attempt, Carr was running onto the rebound and he equalised.
Almost immediately, Dave Diedhiou and Elliott Charles replaced Keagan Cole and Stanislaus, respectively. Neither player had really been given a chance to make their mark on the game when what proved to be the winner arrived.
Daniel appeared to bundle over Hammond as they tussled for the ball in the penalty area. However, when Daniel went down under Hammond's challenge the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
The penalty was not a great one and Lovelock was able to parry the ball. His luck was out, however, as the rebound fell to the taker, Carr and he knocked home the rebound before a Hendon player could get to him.
In the 71st minute, Da Costa tried to get past Danny Murphy, who was knocked over in the collision. It might have been ruled a foul, but no whistle came and there was none either when Murphy retaliated with a kick that sent Da Costa to the ground. If any of the officials had seen it, the veteran Irishman's afternoon contribution would almost certainly have been at an end.
Hendon struggled to create openings, even when Ibe came on for James Harper. He nearly got on the end of a through ball from Charles but a well-timed block by Nnamani ensured Wells could gather without too much difficulty.
Da Costa then had a powerful run, but he elected to shoot with the much-better placed McLeod-Urquhart screaming for a pass. Sam Murphy nearly got on the end of a half-cleared corner, but a green-shirted defender threw himself in front of the ball.
Even an equaliser, although gratefully received, would have been more than Hendon deserved because almost all of the play in the second half had been at the end Leatherhead were attacking.
|12||Mohammed Sagaf||for 11 , 90|
|14||Jerome Federico||for 8 , 52|
|15||Calum Davies||for 10 , 90|
|11||Khale Da Costa|
|12||Elliott Charles||for 9 , 67|
|14||Dave Diedhiou||for 7 , 67|
|15||Kezie Ibe||for 6 , 80|