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Match Report

Hendon
1
Slough Town
1
Date:
Saturday 04 March 2006
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
241
Venue:
Hendon

Match Report

Hendon left it very late to snatch a point against Slough Town at Claremont Road on Saturday afternoon, but Dave Hunt's 89th-minute equaliser was the very least the Greens deserved after dominating most of the second half and pretty much sharing the honours in the first.

With both Darren Watson and Jeff Campbell absent for personal reasons and Danny Murphy injured, Hendon were forced into a number of changes. Iain Duncan came in for Murphy, while there was a reversion to a three-man attack with Blaise O'Brien playing behind a front two of Ross Pickett and Andy Cook. It was probably more important that the back three of Marc Leach, James Parker and Mark Cooper was left undisturbed, giving Michael Barima and Duncan the chance to assist Hunt and Charlie Mapes in the middle of the park.

The early returns were not too promising. After three minutes, Glen Harris fired over from a good position and, a few minutes later, Dave King made a great save from an Ian Hodges header.

But Hendon soon got into the game and they should have scored after 17 minutes when O'Brien and Barima caused panic in the Slough defence. Clark Masters came for a cross and lost out to Pickett, whose nod-down should have allowed Cook the chance to sidefoot the ball into an almost unguarded net. However, Aaron Steele got back to the line and the full-back hacked the ball clear.

After 26 minutes, Cooper lost his marker and met a Mapes corner with a free header. However, he put his effort a yard wide of the post and his disappointment was clear to see as he picked himself up from the edge of the six-yard box.

The game continued to ebb and flow, with both teams trying hard to play open football. In the 42nd minute it was Slough's turn to go close. Another header from Hodges, this time a carefully placed lob, bounced off the top of the crossbar.

Hendon had the wind at their backs - or at least coming over their shoulders - and they made much use of it than they had a week earlier. By the end of the 90 minutes, every outfield starter, with the exceptions of Barima and Parker, could have got their names on the scoresheet.

A superb move, involving almost a dozen passes resulted in O'Brien having a great chance after 57 minutes, but Masters produced a magnificent fingertip save. Six minutes later a snap free-kick from Leach forced Masters into another brilliant stop.

But the best chance of the half fell to Duncan. An exquisite through ball from Mapes released the wing-back, who had only Masters to beat. The goalkeeper won the contest and blocked the ball with his legs.

Then, in the 72nd minute, out of almost nothing, Slough took the lead. A free-kick 15 yards outside the penalty area, was flicked on by Hodges for Gareth McLeary, being watched by a number Championship scouts, who - with his back to goal - swivelled and struck a looping, shoulder-high volley over King and just inside the angle of post and crossbar.

It was a truly magnificent goal. For many teams in Hendon's position a body-blow such as that would have resulted in heads going down and more goals being conceded. But it didn't happen. The Greens shrugged it off and set about getting an equaliser.

Mapes and Pickett both fired wide and a flicked header from Cook was alertly caught by Masters as the ball was floating towards the goal. With three minutes of normal time remaining, Lee O'Leary replaced the tiring Pickett and, almost immediately, he directed a header straight at Masters.

With just over 60 seconds of regulation time remaining, Hendon fashioned a superb equaliser. Mapes picked out O'Brien in acres of space on the left wing. O'Brien's cross invited Masters to go for it, but it was too deep for him and the defending Steve Daly, although not for Cook, who headed the ball back across the edge of the six-yard box. Racing in, with perfect timing, was Hunt, who planted his header into the net.

In the time that remained, Slough had a valid appeal for a penalty for handball against a Greens defender turned down and the Rebels were grateful to Masters for making another save, this time a fairly routine one from O'Brien, as Hendon looked for a winner.

"I couldn't ask any more of my players today," said frustrated manager Gary McCann. "They could not have given me any more in terms of effort, commitment, passion or energy.

"What pleased me most was the way that the players didn't let their heads drop when we went behind. I am sure the tide will turn; all we need is a little bit of help from Lady Luck."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Dave King
2
Michael Barima
3
Iain Duncan
4
James Parker
5
Mark Cooper
6
Marc Leach
7
Dave Hunt
8
Charlie Mapes
9
Ross Pickett
10
Blaise O'Brien
11
Andy Cook
12
Adilson Lopes
14
Lee O'Leary
15
James Burgess
16
Chike Nnatuanya
17
Danny Julienne

Match Events

Leigh Mason replaced Glen Harris
67''
Gareth McCleary
72''
Darron Wilkinson replaced Gareth McCleary
79''
82''
Lee O'Leary replaced Ross Pickett
89''
Dave Hunt

Slough Town

1
Clark Masters
2
Aaron Steele
3
Mark Avery
4
Steve Daly
5
Andy Ballard
6
Leon Woodruffe
7
George Moleski
8
Glen Harris
9
Ian Hodges
10
Josias Carbon
11
Gareth McCleary
12
Michael Alexis
14
Leigh Mason
15
Darron Wilkinson
16
Mark West
17
Michael Parkin