Match Report

Hendon
2-1
Tonbridge Angels
M Corcoran, N Muir
C Kinnear
Match details
Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 14 October 2017
Attendance: 265

Hendon banished two hoodoos on Saturday afternoon as they maintained their 100% home league record with a 2-1 win over Tonbridge Angels. It was only Hendon's third league victory against their Kentish opponents at the 20th attempt and Niko Muir's 90th minute penalty was their first success from 12 yards this season at the fifth time of asking.

There was one change from the eleven that had performed so impressively in defeat at Billericay with Zak Joseph dropping to the bench to be replaced by Josh Walker - Oliver Sprague who was ineligible for the match against his parent club also made the bench but was unused. Leo Pedro dropped out of the matchday sixteen.

By and large the first period was evenly contested without many clearcut chances as defences battled hard to stay on top of their attacking adversaries. The redoutable Sonny Miles kept Niko Muir largely in check, whilst Arthur Lee's tussle with the man-mountain Nathan Elder was one of the more intriguiging battles throughout the afternoon.

Keagan Cole had the game's first effort at goal with a rising shot that flashed just wide of Jonathan Henly's left hand post - it was close enough to have the Tonbridge custodian at full stretch, and he would have done well to have got anything on the strike had the effort been on target. At the other end Elder was unable to direct a header on target and Miles found the side netting after heading down a corner to himself. Jake Eggleton also found the side netting, only of the Tonbridge goal, after skipping off the right flank and sending a toe-poked effort narrowly wide of the target.

The Greens had a golden opportunity to take a half-time advantage with them to the interval when they were awarded a penalty. Liam Smith was injured in a challenge a dozen yards inside the Tonbridge half, yet the referee allowed play to continue. Ashley Nathaniel-George received the ball in the inside left channel, teased his man and found his progress baulked illegally. The spot kick was awarded much to the fury of the Tonbridge players and bench who felt that play should have been stopped previously to allow Smith to be treated. There was a three minute pause before the spot kick was taken as Smith received treatment and although the Angels full-back did re-emerge after half-time, it was only for a couple of minutes before he was replaced.

Following the break, which must have been quite unnerving for the taker, Nathaniel-George became the fourth Hendon player to take a penalty this season - and the fourth player not to score. His low effort was too close to the diving Henly and lacked the required power, and the goalkeeper made a good save holding onto the ball as well.

The deadlock was broken seven minutes after the resumption, Tonbridge worked the ball wide and although the cross from the left into the box was repelled by the Hendon back-line, it fell nicely for Chris Kinnear - the man who replaced the injured Liam Smith - to strike a firecracker of a shot from outside the penalty area beyond the startled Lovelock and high into the net.

It was the first goal Hendon had conceded at Silver Jubilee Park in more than 500 minutes of Bostik League football this season and such was the force of the strike from Kinnear, that it had passed Lovelock before the goalkeeper was able to react.

The reaction from the home side showed the level of character within this group of players. Nathaniel-George, who suffered some rough treatment from a number of Tonbridge players throughout the afternoon, won a free kick midway inside the opposing half. Cole's flighted ball was headed clear, but landed back at the teenager's feet. Spotting the run behind him of left-back Sam Murphy, the ball was laid into the path of the full-back who suddenly found himself on the right flank. His cross on the run was inch-perfect for Michael Corcoran who timed his leap well and thumped his header from 10 yards beyond Henly and into the net for his first goal for the club.

With both sides searching for a winner, the game became much more entertaining and stretched, with opportunities presenting themselves at either end. Niko Muir had a shot superbly blocked by a flailing red shirted body and Josh Walker had a shot comfortably saved by Henly from range after a good run. At the other end, Alex Akrofi broke clear of Rian Bray for the first time and looked to round Lovelock. The goalkeeper stood up well and forced the Tonbridge number 10 wide before his cross towards Elder was well cleared by Lee.

The best chance at either end fell to Elder, so often the scourge of Hendon over the years, his shot from twelve yards as the ball dropped in a congested penalty area went a yard wide of Lovelock's right hand post and the Greens could breathe again.

As the game entered the final minute of added time, superb work by substitute Daniel Uchechi down by the byline just inside the Tonbridge penalty area saw him keep hold of possession whilst bundled to the floor, get back to his feet and invite an ill-judged challenge from Miles. There was no contact with the ball, only with the Hendon man and once again the referee was well placed to award the penalty kick.

Given the Greens' travails from the spot this season, many fans were unable to watch as Niko Muir - who had already missed the target from 12 yards at Brightlingsea - placed the ball on the spot, took a deep breath and sent the ball into the bottom corner of the net, Henly diving the wrong way.

As the game restarted, the board showed a minimum of three minutes stoppage time. In the last of these, a rare fumble by Lovelock from a high cross at the far post conceded a corner. The visitors piled almost everyone - including Henly - into the box, the only two players not in the area were the taker and Craig Stone, who was lurking about 40 yards from goal. The delivery was good and after an almighty scramble, the ball was deflected by a green shirt for another corner.

Once again the delivery was right into the heart of the Hendon penalty area and as bodies hurled themselves at the ball, and onto the ground, the ball was cleared by a green shirt just as the official brought proceedings to a close.

The late victory had not only maintained Hendon's 100% record at home in the league this season, but arrested a run of two straight defeats. Not only that, the three points left them in third place, level on points with Billericay (who have four games in hand), and a solitary point behind unbeaten league leaders Leiston.

Report by John Rogers : Not to be reproduced without prior permission

Sponsors

The matchballs were sponsored by Pentrus Limited
The match programme was sponsored by John Rogers

Hendon

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Tom Lovelock  
2 Jake Eggleton  
3 Sam Murphy  
4 Dave Diedhiou  
5 Rian Bray  
6 Arthur Lee  
7 Keagan Cole  
8 Michael Corcoran  
9 Josh Walker  
10 Niko Muir  
11 Ashley Nathaniel-George  
12 Zak Joseph for 9 , 74
13 Oliver Sprague  
14 Daniel Uchechi for 7 , 70
15 Kezie Ibe  
17 Matt Ball for 11 , 84

Tonbridge Angels

Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Jonathan Henly  
2 Craig Stone  
3 Jack Parter  
4 Liam Smith  
5 Sonny Miles  
6 Callum Adonis-Taylor  
7 Luke Blewden  
8 Tommy Whitnell  
9 Nathan Elder  
10 Alex Akrofi  
11 Joe Turner  
12 Andre McCollin for 10 , 74
14 Dan Thompson  
15 Chris Kinnear for 4 , 49
16 Xavier Vidal for 8 , 66
17 Stewart Copeland  

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