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Match Report

Hendon
2
Billericay Town
2
Date:
Saturday 29 October 2005
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
248
Venue:
Hendon

Match Report

Hendon emerged from this Ryman League Premier Division match with as undeserved a point as they will have gained for many a year. On the positive side, a fifth draw from six outings proves they are becoming more difficult to beat, but no wins in nine matches is a worrying run.

A fit-again Mark Cooper replaced Mark Burgess in the centre of defence while Ross Pickett came in for Andy Cook to give the team a more attacking look.

Sadly, it was the defence that looked in need of a makeover in the opening period. If it wasn't for the heroics of Sean Thomas in the Hendon goal, the game would have been over as a contest.

The opening goal came after 15 minutes, when the Hendon defence was ripped open down the left flank and no one did anything to stop Ross Wareham picking his spot from 12 yards out.

Seven minutes later, the lead was doubled. A free-kick just outside the left edge of the penalty area was powerfully struck by Matt Game and well saved by Thomas. As the Hendon defence stood appreciating the goalkeeper's good work, Tom Poole rather ruined it by knocking home the rebound, unchallenged, from eight yards.

Thomas was then smartly off his line to stop Nathan Elder when he was put through, and then made another good stop to deny Poole a second goal.

But the incident that summed up the utter ineptitude of the Hendon half came after 38 minutes. Jamie Dormer headed away a hopeful Hendon through ball. It was going to go out for a Hendon throw, ushered there by Iain Duncan who, inexplicably played the ball a foot from the line and was lucky to get a rebound for a Hendon throw.

He threw the ball to Cooper, who was not expecting it. Cooper, unsurprisingly, lost the ball and Leon Hunter broke free. He was not running straight at goal when Marc Leach sent him crashing to the ground, but the yellow card he received was entirely deserved. The free-kick came to nothing.

Hendon's only even respectable chance of the first half came in the final minute, but Ricci Crace didn't make Dale Brightly have to work too hard to make a save from a header. At least the Greens had found out that the Billericay defence was far from impregnable.

The players trooped into the dressing room, only for the 10 Hendon outfielders to be sent back out within 90 seconds. Manager Gary McCann blasted a few home truths and told them that they didn't deserve a rest in the changing rooms. Exempt from this punishment was Thomas.

In more than 30 years of watching Hendon, I cannot recall this being done before but, it must be said, it had the desired effect because the second half performance was significantly better.

Even so, Thomas did well to block a shot from Elder after 49 minutes, picking up an injury in the process. The Greens had the winds at their backs and were able to force the Blues onto the back foot. However, they remained susceptible to the quick break and James Parker made a couple of timely interventions.

After 63 minutes, Dormer went down awkwardly in a challenge with Pickett and, after a long delay, was stretchered from the pitch with his lower leg in a brace. Neil Cousins replaced him.

Almost immediately, Hendon replaced Danny Julienne and Pickett with Dave Hunt and Cook, the latter played as an out-and-out striker. His extra height certainly unsettled the Billericay defence, but there didn't really seem any danger of them failing to win the game.

With 16 minutes to go, the Greens made their final change, John Frendo being replaced by Jimmy Froud. And, just as on Tuesday night, the substitute made a telling mark very quickly.

In the 78th minute, Brightly tried to claim a long throw from Danny Murphy, but he couldn't do more than palm it away. Crace controlled the ball at his feet outside the six-yard box, facing away from the goal, as Brightly dived in. The goalkeeper went through Crace who went down and the penalty award was completely uncontested.

Froud, who had not scored for the club, happily volunteered to take the spot-kick and nonchalantly lifted it over the flailing arm of Brightly. Suddenly, out of nothing, Hendon had a lifeline.

With two minutes of normal time to go, Hendon won a free-kick on the left side. The ball was floated into the box, Brightly and Cook leapt for it and the rebound fell to Hunt, who happily lifted it towards the unguarded net. Although Dave McSweeney tried desperately to keep it out, he managed only to launch the ball into the roof of the net.

In the eight minutes of stoppage time, Hendon could have snatched a winner when they got another free-kick in a dangerous area. Instead of Jeff Campbell, who had scored from a similar position a couple of weeks ago, the kick was taken by Leach, who fired narrowly wide of Brightly's left post.

"I was disgusted with the first half performance," said Mr McCann. "I told them they didn't deserve to have a rest in the dressing room so I sent them out. Only Sean Thomas didn't deserve that and I make a point on ensuring he had a break."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Sean Thomas
2
Iain Duncan
3
Danny Murphy
4
Mark Cooper
5
James Parker
6
Marc Leach
7
Danny Julienne
8
Jeff Campbell
9
Ricci Crace
10
John Frendo
11
Ross Pickett
12
Dave Hunt
14
Rene Street
15
Andy Cook
16
Jimmy Froud
17
Billy Matthews

Match Events

Ross Wareham
15''
Tom Poole
22''
Neil Cousins replaced Jamie Dormer
63''
65''
Andy Cook replaced Ross Pickett
65''
Dave Hunt replaced Danny Julienne
74''
Jimmy Froud replaced John Frendo
Danny Hockton replaced Tom Poole
78''
78''
Jimmy Froud
88''
Dave Hunt

Billericay Town

1
Dale Brightly
2
Dave McSweeney
3
Danny Kerrigan
4
Pat Sappleton
5
Robin Trott
6
Jamie Dormer
7
Matt Game
8
Leon Hunter
9
Nathan Elder
10
Tom Poole
11
Ross Wareham
12
Ricky Dobson
14
Neil Cousins
15
Danny Hockton
16
Chris Bourne
17
John Simmons