|Date:||Saturday 17 September 2016|
Hendon produced possibly their best performance of the past 16 months as they overcame Dulwich Hamlet 2-0 to reach the third round qualifying of the Emirates FA Cup.
If the football truism is to be believed that among the best times to score are just before half-time or just after the break. Of course, there is almost never a bad time to score, but Hendon settled this tie with goals as the game entered first half stoppage time and three minutes after the resumption.
From the team which had won in the Ryman League at Metropolitan Police a week earlier, Ollie Sprague replaced Mayo Balogun, Casey Maclaren came in for Finbarr Robins and Khale da Costa was given his first Greens start at the expense of Kezie Ibe.
Dulwich started promisingly and created the first opening. The ball came out to the edge of the penalty area, from where Nathan Green lashed a 25-yard shot which flew just over the crossbar.
The Greens' response was to create two chances in the space of minute, just before the quarter-hour mark. Karl Oliyide made a mazy run down the left side, leaving Sanchez Ming trailing in his wake.
The striker cut into the penalty area and, from the goalline, rolled a low cross into the six-yard box. Da Costa lost his marker and probably should have done better with his side-foot, although under pressure from Mark Weatherstone, because the ball went wide of the target.
Oliyide's next foray set up a chance for Casey Maclaren, and he at least forced Preston Edwards into making a very good save. Maclaren, however, did have the whole goal to aim at and might have been able to direct away from the England C international goalkeeper.
Hamlet's response was two efforts of their own. First Kadell Daniell tried his luck with a 20-yard strike that narrowly missed the target.
Berkley Laurencin seemed to have his line of sight blocked by one or two players in front of him because he took a step in the wrong-direction and was only a spectator as the ball - not struck cleanly - went a yard wide of his opposite post.
In the 19th minute, Sprague saved Hendon with a brilliant goal-line clearance. Green had done well down the left side of the Dulwich attack and his low cross was struck goalwards by Kenny Beaney.
Laurencin was beaten, but Sprague got back in time to clear the ball from the line. Dulwich players and supporters looked towards the assistant referee for a goal signal, but it was more in hope than expectation.
It was a really good contest in every area of the pitch. In midfield, however, the Maclaren brothers and Spencer McCall took control. Michael Chambers, Nyren Clunis, Beaney and Roman Michael-Percil got no change out of the midfield trio, or from Chris Seeby and Sprague out wide.
Ming and Green were given a torrid time by Niko Muir and Da Costa on the flanks, though the experienced Matt Drage and Weatherstone were solid and kept Oliyide relatively quiet until half-time. The two Hendon heroes not mentioned so far were amongst the very best of the Greens players, Alfie Young and Luke Tingey and they gave Gavin Tomlin and Daniel no sights of goal inside the penalty area.
Casey Maclaren was given a couple of early lectures by the referee and took care not to offend again. The same could not be said of Tomlin, who committed another foul after a number of vocal complaints and mistimed challenges.
In the 37th minute, he committed another foul and was shown a yellow card. This upset the Dulwich faithful who felt that Kevin Maclaren had merited at least the same after a clash with Michael-Percil.
The fact is that both players were trying to get position and the Hamlet player was outmuscled, then ran into the arm of the Hendon skipper. Michael-Percil went down as if poleaxed, but the referee was only a couple of yards from the incident and saw nothing untoward.
Daniell was cautioned a couple of minutes after Tomlin, this after his stray elbow had knocked over Kevin Maclaren. It was certainly a careless challenge and he might, with another referee, have seen a card of a different colour.
In the last minute of the first half, Hendon took the lead. A raid down the left wing left Ming beaten, so Drage came across to cover. This allowed Muir to cut inside and when the ball reached his feet, there was only one defender close.
Although he had his back to goal, Weatherstone stood a yard off Muir, allowing him to turn and shoot. What the forwardâs shot lacked in power more than made up for in accuracy and Edwards' dive did not come close to keeping Muir's strike.
Having taken a lead into half-time, Hendon went even better a couple of minutes after the resumption. Ming mistimed a tackle on Muir and brought him down five yards outside the Dulwich penalty area on the left side of the box.
McCall lined up to take the free-kick with Tingey for company and, a four-man wall in front of him. Expecting a shot, the wall didn't react as the ball was played left, to where Tingey had run.
There was very little angle, but Tingey fired at goal and got a touch fortunate as a covering defender deflected the ball just inside Edwards' near post. The goalkeeper seemed slow to get down, but the deflection put the ball into a place where Edwards could not reach.
This second goal really knocked the stuffing out of Dulwich. Ten minutes into the second half, Beaney - who had contributed little - was replaced by the experienced Ashley Carew, who settled into the same midfield spot, but without Beaney's energy.
Next to be replaced was Michael-Percil. The man who, as substitute, had turned League encounter at Silver Jubilee Park a couple of weeks earlier, had not made the same impression as a start, and the more direct and central-playing Alex Teniola came on.
Hendon's response was their first two changes, Ibe and Robins taking over from Muir and da Costa, respectively. Two minutes after Robins had come on, he played a neat pass into the path of McCall, whose curling shot was athletically tipped aside by Edwards.
Teniola almost got Dulwich back into the game a minute after McCall's effort. His shot beat Laurencin all ends up but struck the inside of the post. As Tomlin strode forward to knock home the rebound, Kevin Maclaren produced a magnificent tackle to deny him.
Sam Murphy replaced Casey Maclaren shortly after Daniell, on a final warning had made way for Kieran Djalili. Dulwich, however, seemed strangely passionless and although Drage moved forward to make a giant three-man front line, the only two saves Laurencin had to make were ones where he only had to flop slowly onto the ball.
Four minutes of stoppage time seemed to last an age, but the only clear opening that fell to Dulwich came three minutes in. A corner was perfectly directed for the tall Chambers, but his header was also powder-puff and straight a Laurencin.
It might have made for a frantic final few seconds, but Hendon breathed again and were able to see out time without any more alarms.
|12||Alex Teniola||for 11 , 64|
|15||Ashley Carew||for 8 , 54|
|16||Kieran Allen-Djilali||for 10 , 74|
|11||Khale Da Costa|
|12||Sam Murphy||for 8 , 83|
|16||Kezie Ibe||for 9 , 69|
|17||Finbarr Robins||for 11 , 69|