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Match Report

Hendon
0
Tonbridge Angels
1
Date:
Saturday 19 August 2006
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
227
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon opened their Ryman League Premier Division season with a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to newly-promoted Tonbridge Angels on Saturday. It is the third consecutive season that the Greens have lost their first match.

Strangely, given the mass exodus at the end of last season, there were only four starters making their first appearance for Hendon although three out of the five named substitutes were also debutants. The new faces were: Wayne O'Sullivan, Craig Vargas, Dwane Williams and Dean Thomas among the starters, and substitutes Rakatahr Hudson, Naz Richardson and Husein Kharas, the first two coming on.

A surprise return was made by Jermaine Hunter - a January 2006 signing from Staines who joined Braintree after barely a week at Claremont Road - and he started in a central striking role. But, for the first 20 minutes, almost all of the action was at the other end.

Electing to kick with the wind in the first half, Tonbridge used the conditions quite well and Richard Wilmot made a good save from Jon Main after just five minutes following a misjudgement by O'Sullivan.

Six minutes later, a brief reduction in the breeze caught out O'Sullivan again - he thought the ball would be blown out of play - and Andy Martin reached Steve Aris's long downfield pass. Martin cut inside and drove the ball just inside Wilmot's near post for the opening goal.

Good tight control almost brought an opening for Hunter as Hendon tried to hit back. Hunter created space for a shot, but Aris threw himself in front of the ball and blocked the shot before Aaron Kerr needed to make a save.

The Angels still enjoyed most of the possession and field position too, but could not turn this advantage into more goals. The best chance fell to Alex O'Brien, but he could not put an almost free header on target.

Off-target efforts were the order of the day because O'Sullivan, James Burgess and Hunter shot over or wide of the goal. A shot from Lee O'Leary was, at least goalbound, but Kerr's save had to be considered in the very easy category.

Hendon certainly had the better of the second half, but the final ball left much to be desired and noteworthy goal attempts were at a premium. Between them, Kerr and Aris marshalled the Angels defence very well. Ross Pickett reached an O'Sullivan free kick after 68 minutes, but he was at full stretch and could not match the direction with any power, allowing Kerr to save comfortably.

Tonbridge were content to soak up pressure and then attack on the counter. They had one good opening, created down the left flank by Fraser Logan and a near-post flick from Main led to James Parker clearing off the line.

Midway through the half, Hendon changed their formation, allowing both Jamie Busby and Parker to get into shooting positions. Both went quite close, but Kerr wasn't called into action. Hudson replaced Williams and certainly livened things up, as did Richardson, when he took over from Thomas, the latter curling a shot wide.

It was a little surprising that Danny Edwards wasn't introduced until the final five minutes and he was restricted to more defensive duties. In the last few minutes, Tonbridge almost doubled their lead when substitute Luke Piscina forced Wilmot into a full-length save.

As the game moved into stoppage time. Robert Kember fouled O'Leary, who tried to take a quick free-kick. Kember didn't let him do so, and when O'Leary put the ball down at Kember's feet, the Angels player pushed the Hendon man away. The referee was satisfield just to issue a yellow card.

"If you start a game playing that badly defensively," said disappointed manager Gary McCann, "then you're not going to win many games. I thought we did just about enough in the second half to get a draw."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Richard Wilmot
2
Jamie Busby
3
Craig Vargas
4
James Burgess
5
James Parker
6
Ross Pickett
7
Lee O'Leary
8
Dwane Williams
9
Jermaine Hunter
10
Dean Thomas
11
Wayne O'Sullivan
12
Rakatahr Hudson
14
Danny Edwards
15
Husein Kharas
17
Nas Richardson
18
Rene Street

Match Events

Andy Martin
11''
64''
Rakatahr Hudson replaced Dwane Williams
78''
Nas Richardson replaced Dean Thomas
Adam O'Neill replaced Jon Main
82''
Luke Piscina replaced Andy Martin
82''
86''
Danny Edwards replaced Jamie Busby

Tonbridge Angels

1
Aaron Kerr
2
Ray Powell
3
John Heath
4
Robert Kember
5
Steve Aris
6
Jon Beales
7
Scott Gooding
8
Alex O'Brien
9
Andy Martin
10
Jon Main
11
Fraser Logan
12
Luke Piscina
14
Leon Watts
15
Adam O'Neill
16
Tony Dolby
17
Mike Cramp