|Competition:||Isthmian League Premier Division|
|Date:||Saturday 18 March 2017|
Hendon bounced back in impressive style to defeat playoff-chasing Needham Market at Silver Jubilee Park on Saturday. The Greens were challenged by the management team after the collapse at Leatherhead the previous weekend and responded in fine style, recording a third straight home victory.
Arthur Lee was back from suspension and started in defence while Kezie Ibe, with the captain's armband, led the attack. The men to drop out, Dan Rumens and Reis Stanislaus were named on the bench alongside Dave Diedhiou, Elliott Charles and Luke Tingey, the last two not being used.
Just as the previous week, Hendon took an early and it was a little freakish. This time, it was a corner, taken by Matt Ball, on the left side of the pitch. With a strong wind blowing up the hill, Ball whipped in the ball and the wind did the rest, curling the ball a good five yards into the far corner, beyond the dive of Danny Gay.
The Greens continued to set the pace and caused the Needham Market defence more than a few problems. Ibe was excellent, holding the ball up and using wide men Marcel Barrington and Khale Da Costa very well.
However, when the ball came into the penalty area, Gay was equal to everything that came his way. James Harper broke up play very well in midfield and he had willing runners in Ball and Keagan Cole as well as the wide men.
Behind them, James Hammond - whose loan spell from Maidenhead has been extended to the end of the season - Sam Murphy, Josh McLeod-Urquhart and Lee dealt with the danger coming from Reece Dobson and the prolific John Sands.
Seven minutes before half-time, Hendon extended their lead with a neat goal. A set piece was not cleared by the Needham Market defence and when it fell to Cole he took a touch before sending it past Gay into the net.
Cole rather blotted his copybook by picking up a caution for simulation as he went down dramatically in the penalty area. At the other end, a challenge by Hammond was ruled illegal by the referee and he pointed to the penalty spot.
Billy Clark took responsibility for the spot-kick, but it was a very poor effort. Although Tom Lovelock had dived too far to save with his hands, he was able to make the block with his legs and the Marketmen could not win the race to the rebound.
With the slope in their favour in the second half, Hendon continued to set the pace, but they could not add to their advantage. They created chances, but failed to take them.
As the half progressed the home fans thought back to the previous week's debacle, when a two-goal half-time lead was turned into a defeat, and there was an air of nervousness. With 20 minutes left, Diedhiou and Rumens took over from Barrington and Harper in a bid to stiffen the defensive end of the field.
It did not work as well as the management team would have liked because, with 11 minutes remaining, Hendon failed to deal with a corner and Luke Ingram was given a free header, from which he made no mistake.
That, however, was as good as it got for the Marketmen. Indeed, the best openings came at the other end, where Gay made an excellent save to deny Da Costa in a one-on-one situation and Murphy crashed a drive off the frame of the goal.
Stanislaus took over from Ibe for the final few minutes, but this was a typical time-wasting exercise used by managers the length and breath of the land.
A third Hendon goal would have been such a relief especially when, with the game moving into stoppage time, the Greens conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box. Needham Market couldn't take advantage of the opportunity and the three vital points were assured.
|11||Khale Da Costa|
|14||Dave Diedhiou||for 10 , 70|
|15||Reis Stanislaus||for 9 , 88|
|16||Daniel Rumens||for 6 , 70|
|14||Kieran Turner||for 7 , 74|
|15||James Carragher||for 6 , 81|
|16||Max Booth||for 12 , 85|