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Hendon collected their fourth draw in five Ryman League Premier Division fixtures but, once again, were left wondering what they had to do to get some breaks. Whether they would have won the game if the referee had dismissed Walton goalkeeper Nick Gindre as he should have is pure conjecture, but Hendon should have been given the opportunity of playing against ten men and a stand-in goalkeeper for a quarter of the match.
There was only one change to the starting 11 from Saturday, teenaged goalkeeper Sean Thomas coming in for his Hendon debut at the expense of Dave King. Thomas, a temporary signing from Queens Park Rangers and an England Under-17 international recently, made a solid debut.
With the strong wind at their backs in the first half Hendon were on top, but failed to put huge pressure on the well-organised Walton defence. A snapshot from John Frendo was well saved by Gindre at his near post and a flicked header from Andy Cook headed off the line by Adam Thompson were the most noteworthy efforts.
Walton were content to soak up the little bits of pressure and launch counterattacks. And from one of these, after 24 minutes Neil Lampton and Tristan Frontin should have combined to give the Swans the lead. LamptonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cross picked out Frontin in front of the Hendon goal, but the ball bounced off him and wide of the far post.
Hendon's habit of making costly mistakes came back to haunt them in first half stoppage time. Frendo lost possession on the edge of the Walton box and the ball was quickly transferred towards the Hendon end.
The defence really should have dealt with the danger, but the ball went under a foot and gave Lee Riddell a clear run at goal. Riddell made no mistake with the chance and Hendon suffered the triple misfortune of conceding a goal against the run of play, in first-half stoppage time, and with the conditions favouring them.
But they came out for the second half determined to get back into the game. After 47 minutes, Frendo ran onto a through ball from Jeff Campbell and reached it ahead of Gindre, who had rushed yards out of his penalty area.
The goalkeeper pulled down Frendo to concede a free-kick. The referee ruled, correctly, that Frendo did not have a clear goalscoring opportunity and contented himself with showing Gindre a yellow card.
Three minutes later, a diagonal shot from Iain Duncan was diverted slightly by Ricci Crace, but there was not enough power or change of direction to cause Gindre too much difficulty in making the save. Gindre then dived in smartly to snaffle a low cross from Danny Julienne before Crace could pounce.
That should have been Gindre's final save of the night. In the 68th minute, 90 seconds after Ross Pickett had replaced Cook, Crace was again alert to a through ball played diagonally into the Walton penalty area. Gindre came off his line, but was beaten by Crace, who knocked the ball past him.
There was cover behind the goalkeeper, but he nonetheless brought down Crace and the referee had absolutely no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot - Hendon's first in League action since New Year's Day.
Incredibly, to the amazement of the Hendon, the referee took no further action against the goalkeeper. His excuse for this was, "He made a genuine attempt to play the ball."
He could do nothing about Pickett's penalty and he would have been almost equally helpless if he guessed the correct way the ball was struck.
The closest either team came to a deciding goal in the final quarter was a chance that fell to Riddell. The Walton striker curled a 22-yard effort that beat Thomas but didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really look like dropping under the crossbar, although it did bounce off the bar before being cleared.
"Once again we made things hard for ourselves by making a costly mistake," said manager Gary McCann, "but I am happy with the way that we fought back. I thought we should have won the game, but we made too many wrong decisions from good positions in attack. We are getting closer and closer and I am sure weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll get it right very soon."