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Hendon and Horsham shared the spoils at Vale Farm on Tuesday night, but the match marred by a horrible injury suffered by Horsham player Gary Charman who suffered a double-fracture of his cheekbone after an accidental collision with James Burgess. The last time the two teams met, at Worthing last season, Lee O'Leary broke his leg in three places after an airborne collision with Mark Knee.
Exactly the same 16 players were named on the Hendon team-sheet, starters and substitutes, a rare occurrence for the Greens in an injury-hit and inconsistent campaign.
The first incident of note could have seen former Hendon player Sam Page red-carded for a professional foul on Billy Dunn. It would have been extremely harsh on the centre-half, who has slipped and fallen into Dunnâ€™s path on the edge of the penalty area "D".
Nevertheless, under the strict letter of the law, Dunn would have had an unchallenged run at goal. The free-kick was completely wasted as Scott Cousins took it quickly and managed to strike a Hendon player with his shot and a goal kick resulted.
The incident with Charman happened in the 14th minute and it was immediately clear that it was a very serious injury. Both sets of players left the pitch for the sanctuary and warmth of the dressing rooms while the stricken player was comforted just inside the Hendon penalty area.
It took less than 10 minutes for the paramedic to arrive and the car was driven right down the pitch to where Charman lay. Barely a minute later the Ambulance followed a similar path, leaving the unusual sight of a football pitch almost devoid of players but with two vehicles parked upon it.
When play resumed after a stoppage time officially of 21 minutes, Steve Sargent replaced Charman.
In keeping with the rather weird atmosphere at the match, Hendon took the lead in the 62nd minute of the first half - the 17th of additional time. It was an excellent goal too, Kevin Maclaren bringing down a diagonal pass from Peter Dean, swivelling past a defender and wrong-footing Craig Bradshaw with a disguised shot into the bottom corner.
When Hendon fans reached the bottom end of the ground, they saw just how much damage had been done to the pitch by the two vehicles and, in truth, if the referee had ruled that the pitch was not longer fit for play following the injury, most people would not have complained. Tyre tracks had churned up a section of pitch directly in front of the goal about five yards outside of the penalty area. Had the conditions been much colder, the frozen ruts would have been positively dangerous.
Hendon had a couple of half-chances early in the second half, but Bradshaw certainly could not consider himself overworked. The same could certainly be said for James Reading, who had been forced into one first half save.
Horsham's equaliser was desperately harsh on the Hendon goalscorer Kevin Maclaren. It came in the 67th minute, five minutes after Tom Lyons and Tony Nwachuckwu had replaced Claude Seanla and Pat Harding in a double swap.
A shot from outside the penalty area took a deflection and was going well wide of the target. It however, went straight to the younger Maclaren who controlled the ball with what he was utterly convinced was his chest. The referee thought otherwise and immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Casey Maclaren went too far in his protests and picked up a yellow card.
Lyons, five minutes into his debut, took responsibility for the spot kick and smashed it past Reading who had, in any case, guessed wrongly and dived to his left.
Wayne O'Sullivan restored to the team for the match at the weekend, continued to show much improved form and he gave the visitors some nervous moments. Unfortunately for Hendon, all too often attacking players took the wrong options and promising situations fizzled out.
Horsham's centre-backs Sam Page and Anthony Acheampong were kept busy, but it might have helped Hendonâ€™s cause if they had changed personnel somewhat earlier than the 87th minute, when Lubomir Guentchev came on for Oâ€™Sullivan. The substitution was made moments after O'Sullivan had tried an ambitious 30-yard shot and the ball ended up close to the corner flag.
In the final couple of minutes, Hendon nearly lost the point they had to that time been holding fairly comfortably. A needlessly conceded free-kick was floated into the penalty area and a Horsham player arrived unmarked at the far post. He knocked the ball past Reading, but it struck the inside of the post and was cleared hurriedly.
As Horsham had gone into the match as one of the form teams in the Ryman League Premier Division, it could be said that it was a good point for Hendon to have collected, but the general feeling was that two had been dropped.
That was certainly Gary McCann's view. The Greens manager said, "It was very disappointing to lose points in the way that we did. Our defence - with Brad Thomas and James Parker absolutely outstanding - was a lot more assured.
"We keep trying to score the perfect goal and we really need to be much more clinical."