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Match Report

Hendon
4
Concord Rangers
1
Date:
Tuesday 24 August 2010
Competition:
Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance:
165
Venue:
TBA

Match Report

Hendon broke their Ryman League Premier Division duck at the second attempt on Tuesday night, seeing off Concord Rangers 4-1 at Vale Farm.

There were no good vibrations for the Beachboys, whose first ever match against Hendon was decided by one player - Belal Aite-Ouakrim. His four-goal haul was the first time a Hendon player had ever scored all four of the team's goals in an Isthmian League match.

It needed a supersonic performance to down the well-organised Concord, especially as Aite-Ouakrim, a Muslim, is fasting during the hours of daylight as he celebrates Ramadan. Maybe that is why, after failing to score on Saturday, he waited until the sun had set and the floodlights were on before feasting on the Rovers' defence.

Following the disappointing defeat at Tooting on Saturday, Hendon made two changes to their starting line-up. An injury to Jamie Busby meant that Kevin Maclaren got a recall in midfield, while Craig Vargas replaced Danny Dyer at left-back. On the bench for the first time, was Jon-Jo Bates, the son of former Hendon captain Jon-Barrie and nephew of Ian Bates, the player-manager of landlords Wembley FC.

Concord included former Hendon defender Bradley Thomas, who is on loan from Braintree. But he had no happy returns to the ground on which he scored the Greens' final goal of last season. He was lucky to not to be penalised and cautioned after 30 seconds for a late challenge on Vargas as the Hendon man attempted a cross from the by-line.

Hendon's defensive frailties - cruelly exposed by Tooting on Saturday - were less evident against Concord, but they were still there. Berkley Laurencin's goal was certainly more under threat than Dale Brightly's - at least in the first half.

A couple of half-chances came the way of the Elmes brothers, James and Harry, but they were off-target, as were Tony Stokes and Marc Sontag with long-range efforts. Aite-Ouakrim, Aaron Morgan and Lubo Guentchev all gave the Concord defence moments of indecision, but the final touch was never quite right.

Stokes, however, nearly broke the deadlock - and the Hendon crossbar - with a pile-driver after 34 minutes. It was a magnificent strike by the midfielder, and Laurencin was beaten by it, but the rebound from the underside of the crossbar bounced back into the field of play.

The only Concord people appealing for a goal were defenders around the centre circle and the staff on the bench. Those closest to the action looked at the assistant referee in hope rather than expectation that would signal a goal - and they immediately turned their attention to the ball when it was clear the correct decision had been made.

Hendon's opening goal arrived after 37 minutes, when a through ball invited Aite-Ouakrim to run with Nicky Cowley. Aite-Ouakrim was both stronger and faster than the Concord captain and, having outpaced him, he waited for Brightly to commit himself before drilling the ball into the net.

Having rather undeservedly taken the lead, Hendon unintentionally set about righting the injustice. Their defending became even more nervous and it was no surprise that, in first-half stoppage time, the scores were level. Matt O'Brien had a good opportunity to deal with a run from James Elmes, but he was indecisive and when the ball broke to his brother, Harry Elmes struck a low shot beyond Laurencin just inside the far post.

A few home truths were rammed home in the Hendon dressing room at half-time and, unusually, the bench players did not warm up on the side of the pitch during interval. Instead, they had to listen to the lectures from the management team, who made a change before the start of the second half, Michael Peacock coming on for his debut at the expense of O'Brien.

Whatever Gary McCann and Freddie Hyatt said, it had the desired effect. That, and the personnel change, ensured that the defence, marshalled by James Parker, was both better and more composed in the second half.

After 51 minutes, Aite-Ouakrim nearly scored a second goal. Put through by Lee O'Leary, he rounded Brightly, but a brilliant block by Steve King denied Aite-Ouakrim, who might have been better served by an early shot - or lob - but Concord's covering defence deserves credit.

The match-winning goal came midway through the second half and it was a moment that Brightly will want to forget. He certainly failed to think up to his name as he dealt with a back-pass from Thomas.

Brightly's first touch wasn't great and the chasing Aite-Ouakrim closed him down to such an extent that he was able to partially block the clearing kick. The ball looped into the air and Brightly, instead of catching the ball, tried - at full stretch - to volley it clear.

He failed miserably, sending the ball high into the air. The goalkeeper was quickly back on his feet, but he was still some way out of position and Aite-Ourakrim had an almost free header to nod the ball into the unguarded net.

Almost immediately, Mariusz Serwin came on for Dave Diedhiou. Like Aite-Ouakrim, Diedhiou is fasting for Ramadan and he struggled to make an impact in midfield.

The pace of Aite-Ouakrim had clearly unsettled Concord and they replaced Danny Glozier with Dave Collins with 20 minutes remaining. Two minutes later, James Lawson came on for Sontag, but this was more of a desperation move, because the Beachboys had just conceded a third goal.

Another through ball invited Aite-Ouakrim the chance to show off his pace, strength and control and his finish flashed past Brightly, giving the keeper little, if any, chance of making a save.

But Concord were certainly not out of the game. Almost immediately after conceding their third goal, Concord had the ball in the Hendon net, but the assistant referee had spotted a player in an offside position and the goal was disallowed.

In the 80th minute, a header from a corner bounced off the outside of the right post. Maclaren had come off post-protection duty to cover another player, so if the ball had been a few inches to the left, Concord would have been trailing by a solitary goal. As it was, the rebound was played by a Beachboy in an offside position, so Hendon escaped.

The match was over as a contest three minutes later. Aite-Ouakrim showed some very fancy footwork in dancing past two or three would-be tacklers before shooting low just inside the near post. Before play could resume, Dyer came on for Morgan, the striker having worked very hard, but without getting the same openings as he had enjoyed on Saturday.

Playing with greater freedom and confidence, Hendon went looking for more. Eddie Munnelly made a 50-yard run, but when he got to within 10 yards of the Concord penalty area, he didn't know whether to shoot or pass and the ball, going well wide of the target ended up in the hands of an unchallenged Brightly.

"We are off and running," declared manager McCann, "but I wasn't happy with the first half performance and I told the players so in the dressing room at half-time.

"We were certainly fortunate to win by as much as 4–1, but we came through at the business end of the match - in the final 30 minutes. I feel sorry for Concord, and I know how they feel because we have been on the end of results such as this over the past few years.

"The match tonight was decided by one man - Belal Aite-Ouakrim - he was absolutely superb and he could have scored five or six."

Report by David Ballheimer

Hendon

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

Match Events

37''
Belal Aite-Ouakrim
Harry Elmes
45''
46''
Michael Peacock replaced Matt O'Brien
65''
Belal Aite-Ouakrim
66''
Mariusz Serwin replaced Dave Diedhiou
Dave Collins replaced Danny Glozier
70''
James Lawson replaced Marc Sontag
72''
72''
Belal Aite-Ouakrim
Ashley Miller replaced Bradley Thomas
77''
82''
Belal Aite-Ouakrim
83''
Danny Dyer replaced Aaron Morgan

Concord Rangers

1
Dale Brightly
2
Bradley Thomas
3
Danny Glozier
4
Nicky Cowley
5
Steve King
6
Lee White
7
Tony Stokes
8
Bertie Brayley
9
James Elmes
10
Harry Elmes
11
Marc Sontag
12
John Easterford
13
Kurt Smith
14
Dave Collins
15
James Lawson
16
Ashley Miller