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Match Report

Tooting & Mitcham United
4
Hendon
3
Date:
Saturday 21 August 2010
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
331
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon, on the back of kamikaze defending, conceded four goals in losing their opening fixture of the 2010-11 season. Hero of the day for the Terrors was teenaged on-loan striker Kiernan Mason-Hughes, who scored a hat-trick, created the fourth and should probably have doubled his personal tally.

For Hendon, this was a third consecutive season in which they have opened with a three-goal salvo, but this time it was not enough, and if Tooting had taken more of their countless chances and Berkley Laurencin hadn't made two or three top-notch saves, the margin of defeat would have been much greater. That said, with a little bit of luck, the Greens could have snatched an unlikely point.

Three players made their Hendon debuts at kick-off, defenders Eddie Munnelly and Matt O'Brien and striker Aaron Morgan. Off the bench, Mariusz Serwin made his own bow midway through the second half.

It took less than 40 seconds for Hendon's defensive frailties to be exposed first. A free-kick into the penalty area was met by an unmarked Mason-Hughes, but his goalbound header was blocked by a Hendon defender.

Tooting were not much better at the back and they were soon under pressure from Belal Aite-Ouakrim, who got the better of Hasim Deen, but failed to hit the target with his shot. The way the attacks were dominating the defences, it was only a matter of time before the first goal came and it was a little surprising that almost 26 minutes had elapsed.

A needlessly conceded free-kick was curled into the penalty area and Mason-Hughes, with again no defender close to him, this time found no one to block his header and the young Millwall starlet had his first goal.

Four minutes later, sloppy play from Hendon just outside the penalty area gave Mason-Hughes the chance to run at the Greens defence. He beat two players before sliding the ball across the face of the goal, into the path of Phil Williams who finished with a simple side-foot.

Fears of a slaughter for Hendon were eased within 45 seconds as the Tooting defence was ripped apart down their right side. As Aite-Ouakrim was about to tee up the ball, Lubomir Guentchev barreled into Luke Garrard, knocking the goalkeeper off his feet. Quite who or what caused Guentchev to go over was unseen by all and sundry and everyone just continued as if nothing had happened.

Aite-Ouakrim decided against shooting, instead knocking the ball across the six-yard-box, to where an unmarked Lee O'Leary was waiting. He wasted no time in lifting the ball into the roof of the net. The accidental nature of Guentchev's collision was Garrard was proved by the fact that not a single player complained about the incident.

And, less than a minute later, Guentchev and Garrard were involved again. This time it was Danny Dyer's raid down the wing that created a chance - easier than O'Leary's a few seconds earlier - but Guentchev, three yards from goal and completely unmarked, contrived to side-foot the ball into Garrard's midriff.

It proved a costly miss because two minutes before half-time another Hendon nightmare led to a third Tooting goal. A shot from Williams was blocked by O'Brien and the ball was gathered by Laurencin before it went out for what would have been a corner.

Looking to quickly start an attack, Laurencin heaved the ball out to the opposite wing, too hard and high for Guentchev to control. All the Bulgarian could do was attempt a header back towards Munnelly, but he could not get high enough to direct the ball.

It fell to Barry Stevens who quickly passed the ball to Mason-Hughes, who took great pleasure in scoring his second of the afternoon. Instead of being level at 2-2, Hendon went into the dressing rooms at half-time trailing 3-1, and deservedly behind.

As the teams were about to restart, Garrard said to a knot of Hendon fans behind the goal, "this is still very much game on. There will be plenty more goals, but I don't know at which end."

Everything manager Gary McCann said to his players at half-time about composure and playing their way back into the game went out of the window three minutes after the restart. A foul by Dyer, for which he was very fortunate not to receive a yellow card, brought Tooting a free-kick just outside the Greens penalty area.

The ball was flighted into the danger area, and there was Mason-Hughes to complete his hat-trick. From being in an already difficult position, Hendon's prospects were now dire.

But they more than made a game of it. After 55 minutes, a through ball from Jamie Busby picked out Morgan, who got in front of Nigel Brake and placed an accurate shot past the onrushing Garrard.

Shortly afterwards, Guentchev thought he had a clear run at goal, running onto a long ball out of defence. However, the offside flag that stopped him, albeit a little late, was correctly waved.

Mark Waters then became a Tooting hero twice in the space of three minutes when he made goalline clearances with Garrard beaten. The first to be thwarted was O'Leary with a header as Garrard ventured too far off his line trying to gather a Munnelly cross. Then it was Guentchev with a low shot, after Garrard could only punch weakly under pressure from Morgan.

Laurencin then produced two excellent acrobatic saves to keep out long-range efforts at the other end - first from Karl Beckford, then from Tony Nwachukwu, who had replaced Mason-Hughes. In fact, all six substitutions were made in a 27-minute window, Junior Gymsiah and Hassan Nyang replacing Stevens and Mark Gradsielski for Tooting and Kevin Maclaren, Serwin and Craig Vargas taking over from Dave Diedhiou, Aite-Ouakrim and Dyer, respectively.

With seven minutes to go, Hendon ensured there would be a grandstand finish. A good run from Munnelly was continued by Serwin and the ball was sent to beyond the far post where a lurking Morgan needed no second bidding to fire past Garrard's right knee from an acute angle.

Guentchev stung the hands of Garrard with a 20-yard shot as the match entered stoppage time, but Tooting, using their fast strikers, were able to just about kill the game and take all three points.

"This was not the start we would have wanted," said Gary McCann. "It was one of the most inept defensive performances from my team since I have been manager.

"That said, even when we were 4-1 down, I felt we could get something from the game. I am very disappointed."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

1
Berkley Laurencin
2
Eddie Munnelly
3
Danny Dyer
4
Matt O'Brien
5
James Parker
6
Dave Diedhiou
7
Lubomir Guentchev
8
Lee O'Leary
9
Aaron Morgan
10
Jamie Busby
11
Belal Aite-Ouakrim
12
Kevin Maclaren
13
Michael Peacock
14
Craig Vargas
15
Mariusz Serwin
16
James Reading

Match Events

Kiernan Mason-Hughes
26''
Phil Williams
31''
32''
Lee O'Leary
Kiernan Mason-Hughes
44''
Kiernan Mason-Hughes
48''
Hassan Nyang replaced Mark Gradsielski
53''
54''
Aaron Morgan
55''
Kevin Maclaren replaced Dave Diedhiou
63''
Mariusz Serwin replaced Belal Aite-Ouakrim
Junior Gymsiah replaced Barry Stevens
63''
Tony Nwachukwu replaced Kiernan Mason-Hughes
71''
80''
Craig Vargas replaced Danny Dyer
82''
Aaron Morgan

Tooting & Mitcham United

1
Luke Garrard
2
Mark Waters
3
Nigel Brake
4
Mark Gradsielski
5
Hasim Deen
6
James Nicholls
7
Karl Beckford
8
James Evans
9
Barry Stevens
10
Kiernan Mason-Hughes
11
Phil Williams
12
Jason Henry
14
Aaron Goode
15
Junior Gymsiah
16
Tony Nwachukwu
17
Hassan Nyang